Music and Your Body: How Music Affects Us and Why Music Therapy Promotes Health
Research has shown that music has a profound effect on your body and psyche. In fact, there’s a growing field of health care known as music therapy, which uses music to heal. Those who practice music therapy are finding a benefit in using music to help cancer patients, children with ADD, and others, and even hospitals are beginning to use music and music therapy to help with pain management, to help ward off depression, to promote movement, to calm patients, to ease muscle tension, and for many other benefits that music and music therapy can bring. This is not surprising, as music affects the body and mind in many powerful ways. The following are some of effects of music, which help to explain the effectiveness of music therapy:
- State of Mind: Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, bringing many other benefits.
- Brain Waves: Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state. Also, research has found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.
- Breathing and Heart Rate: With alterations in brainwaves comes changes in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system, such as breathing and heart rate can also be altered by the changes music can bring. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate, and an activation of the relaxation response, among other things. This is why music and music therapy can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, greatly promoting not only relaxation, but health.
- Other Benefits: Music has also been found to bring many other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure (which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time), boost immunity, ease muscle tension, and more. With so many benefits and such profound physical effects, it’s no surprise that so many are seeing music as an important tool to help the body in staying (or becoming) healthy. Listening to Music Could Help You Learn! Exercise.. not many people can sit still when there is a good up beat.
Using Music On Your Own:
While music therapy is an important discipline, you can also achieve many benefits from music on your own. Music can be used in daily life for relaxation, to gain energy when feeling drained, for catharsis when dealing with emotional stress, and in other ways as well.
Getting Ready in the Morning:
You can wake yourself up with music, and start your day feeling great, setting the tone for a lower-stress day. What music do you listen to when you set your alarm? Could be important.
During a Commute:
Put an end to road rage by playing your favorite music in the car. It can reliever some of the tension you feel from the commute itself and the day so far, and help you feel less like you’re wasting time in traffic, and more like you’re having some nice time to yourself. It can also take your mind off of all that you need to get done once you reach your destination, so you’ll arrive less stressed and more prepared to take on what awaits you.
Think about the ways you use music. How about when you are cooking, eating, cleaning ( I can’t clean without music on, just keeps my going) studying or before bed ( many doctors say listening to relaxing music before bed brings on sleep)? Find your ZEN in music.