The renowned American musician Billy Joel once stated that music possesses healing qualities. He described it as a powerful and universal expression of humanity that transcends cultural boundaries, resonating with people from all walks of life.
This profound connection to music has spurred researchers worldwide to explore its therapeutic capabilities.
Friday, August 29th
Music profoundly impacts our emotions, thanks to its deep connection with our brains and bodies. Studies have shown that listening to music can increase the production of dopamine, a chemical associated with mood enhancement, making it a potential treatment for depression.
Furthermore, research suggests that specific genres, such as hip-hop, can help individuals understand mental health disorders. Beyond mental health, music therapy is gaining recognition for its potential to improve overall health.
Here, we explore music’s various health benefits and discuss the possibility of integrating music therapy into healthcare practices.
Reduces pain an anxiety
Music has shown promising potential in reducing both pain and anxiety. Studies have indicated that listening to music after surgery can lead to lower pain and anxiety levels and a reduced need for pain medication.
In addition, research has suggested that music can positively affect patients with conditions such as fibromyalgia, providing pain relief and improving mobility.
While the exact mechanisms behind these benefits are not fully understood, it is believed that music triggers the release of opioids in the brain, which act as natural pain relievers. This connection between music and pain relief has sparked interest among researchers and healthcare professionals.
Acts as an effective stress reliever
Listening to music has been found to have positive effects on stress reduction. Various studies have suggested that music can lower stress, anxiety, and even pain levels. For infants, listening to music with repetitive patterns has been shown to reduce distress and promote calmness. Furthermore, research indicates that music can lower cortisol levels, the hormone released in response to stress. The type of music listened to also plays a role, with relaxing music found to be most effective in reducing stress.
Additionally, music has been found to impact physiological measures such as heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, depending on the tempo and style of the music. These stress-relieving effects have led researchers to explore the potential use of music in treating conditions such as heart-related issues.
Repeated musical phrases may help control heart rate and reduce blood pressure. However, further research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic benefits of music in managing stress and related health conditions.
Aids with memory
Music has been found to have a positive impact on memory recall. A study conducted in 2013 involving adults learning a foreign language found that participants who sang the phrases had higher recall accuracy than those who usually rhythmically spoke or spoke them. This suggests a “listen-and-sing” learning method can enhance verbatim memory for spoken phrases.
Research also suggests that music may aid in memory recall for individuals with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. A study published in Gerontologist found that individuals with early-stage dementia who participated in singing or music listening groups demonstrated better mood, overall well-being, and episodic memory than those who received usual care. The singing group also showed better working memory.
These findings indicate that music can be a therapeutic tool to improve memory recall in individuals with cognitive disorders. Regular musical leisure activities can have long-term mental, emotional, and social benefits and can be incorporated into dementia care and rehabilitation programs.
Speeds recovery from brain injuries and other conditions
Music therapy has shown promise in aiding recovery from brain injuries and treating conditions such as seizures. Research has demonstrated that listening to music can positively affect patients recovering from stroke. A study by the University of Helsinki found that stroke patients who listened to music for approximately 2 hours daily experienced improvements in verbal memory, attention, and mood compared to those who listened to an audiobook or no audio stimulus.
Additionally, music has been found to assist in speech recovery following stroke. A Korean study revealed that stroke patients with communication problems showed improved language abilities after one month of neurologic music therapy. Music has also shown potential in treating epilepsy, a brain disorder characterized by seizures. A recent study found that the brains of individuals with epilepsy exhibited greater synchronization in response to music, suggesting a unique response compared to those without the condition. This finding could lead to novel treatment strategies for epilepsy, as music has been reported to induce relaxation and reduce stress levels.
These studies highlight the therapeutic benefits of music in aiding brain injury recovery and managing conditions like seizures. Music therapy, including neurologic music therapy, has the potential to enhance cognitive functions, facilitate speech recovery, and provide relaxation for individuals with neurological disorders.
This article is based on “The power of music: how it can benefit health” published on medicalnewstoday.com