Music: More than just soul-medicine!

Mozart… or Metallica? Whatever your preference; music has a special power to move us and stir our emotions. For most of us, music is a big part of our lives – it’s insidious and irresistible. Mmm… nothing new, but did you know that listening to music has health benefits? Turns out your favourite tunes are not just hummable, they’re healthy!

“One good thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Judging from this quote, Bob Marley was part poet, part scientist. Neuroscientists have discovered that listening to music not only heightens positive emotions through the reward centres of the brain by stimulating hits of dopamine, it also lights up other areas in the brain – in fact, almost no brain centre is left untouched – suggesting widespread physical, as well as mental health benefits.

Read more on how tunes can ramp up your health.

Boost your immune system

Research indicates that music is capable of reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for weakening the immune system, increasing the risk of disease, interfering with learning and memory, lowering bone density as well as blood pressure. Research found that just 50 minutes of uplifting music increases the levels of antibodies in the human body.

Enhance blood vessel function

Dutch researchers reported at the 2013 European Society of Cardiology Congress, that listening to their favourite music for 30 minutes a day, improved vessel health in heart disease patients. Hearing music increased the production of nitric oxide, a gas that helps dilate blood vessels, keeping them healthy and flexible.

Ease pain

Dentists may be on to something! A University of Kentucky study indicate that patients who listen to mellow music before, during, and after surgery reported reduced pain and anxiety, and required less sedative medication. Here’s why: music masks harsh sounds while engaging the listener emotionally. The result? Distraction from pain!

Improve your workout

Music will rev up your nervous system while simultaneously distracting your mind from discomfort or difficulty. Dopamine lifts your mood and gives you the motivation to carry on for longer. High energy music with a high tempo, such as dance music or hiphop, will do the trick.

Help to reduce memory loss

The part of the brain which process music is located next to memory. For many people suffering from memory loss the spoken language has become meaningless. Music can help patients to remember tunes or songs and get in touch with their history.

Improve sleep

Listening to classical music has been shown to treat insomnia effectively.

Help you to eat less Finally!

A Cornell study in the journal Psychological Reports stated that when introducing soft lighting and jazz music; diners ate about 18% less and reported enjoying their food more.

Help to prevent back pain

When slow rhythms are played, blood pressure and heartbeat slow down, causing us to breathe slower, thus reducing muscle tension in our neck, back and shoulders. Increase productivity and mental focus. Listening to music will decrease 9-5 fatigue; while at the same time encourage enthusiasm.

Boost creativity

A National Institute of Health study stated that RAP songs boosts creativity. Bring on Eminem! Spontaneous lyrical improvisation engages your brains’ prefrontal cortex region, which is responsible for creative thought.

Reduce stress and anxiety and combat depression

Your favourite song really does make it all better! By listening to music biochemical stress reducers are triggered. Music provides us with the same bursts of happiness that we get from eating chocolate.

Related articles