How Music Benefits Body and Mind

How Music Benefits Body and Mind

Ah, the healing power of music.

Whether it’s the perfect song after a bad break-up, or something relaxing to listen to while you study, there are endless ways that music makes our hearts and souls feel better. But research shows how music benefits body and mind, as well.

Music can deliver psychological and physical benefits in a wide range of medical uses and health conditions. A study released in August 2009 looked at open-heart surgery patients who listened to music on the day after their surgery. Those patients experienced increased relaxation levels as well as higher levels of the neurotransmitter oxytocin, a hormone related to feelings of bonding and comfort.

A doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg reveals that listening to music every day lowers stress. The thesis was based on the results of two studies, which showed that people who listened to music also felt positive emotions. To get the positive effects of music, you have to listen to music that you like.

Listening to or performing instrumental music, as well as singing, can reduce blood pressure, lessen pain and anxiety, ease stress and may help keep cognition sharp—all at low cost and without adding medication. Singing was found to have such a positive effect on the depression that often follows knee surgery that one group of Italian researchers advocated music therapy over drug intervention for such patients.

Whether you play an instrument or not, you can benefit from the power of music to help heal. Sing out loud by yourself at home or in a community group, take a music player along when you go for any medical test or procedure and remember to turn on your favorite tunes when stress intensifies.

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Just 30 minutes of what researchers call “music intervention” is often enough to reduce anxiety and increase relaxation. Your body and spirit will feel the difference!

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