Do you remember the last song you played on your iPod? Was it Justin Bieber? Taylor Swift? Regardless of the artist of your choice, think about how that song affected you. I doubt that you were thinking about what was occurring to you physically or psychologically while you were singing along. You were probably just enjoying your favorite song because it’s pleasant to your auditory senses and how it connected with you.
On a high note, research has shown that music offers us more than just pleasant sounds that are enjoyable to listen to. The following article discusses a growing field of health care called Music Therapy, and its positive effects on the body. After the read, take a look at this specific article on how to use music as a stress and management tool.
Music and Your Body: How Music Affects Us and Why Music Therapy Promotes Health
How and Why Is Music A Good Tool For Health?
ByElizabeth Scott, M.S.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.