The Healing Power of Music
Source: The Music and Magic Transformation Kit
You're about to be wheeled in for surgery. You're very nervous, and nothing anyone says is going to make you feel better.
Finally, someone turns on some incredibly soothing music. You finally feel the peace wash over you and you know everything is going to be okay. Is it just a feeling, or does music actually have any influence over your health?
The evidence is stacked up strongly in favor of music's healing power! A positive link has been found for those suffering from things like autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Tourette's.
Why Does Music Have a Healing Effect?
There are neuroscientists who are working to discover exactly why music has healing powers. After all, it's pretty amazing that it can stimulate certain areas of the brain, speed healing, and decrease anxiety and increase optimism.
There are different components to music that can have an effect. Pitch, harmony, frequency, melody, and rhythm all effect the brain in different ways. We know that some of the brain locations are involved in helping to heal and soothe the body as well.
The brain can be taught and stimulated to perform better -- and it seems that music is the perfect vehicle to do that.
There are around 5,000 registered musical therapists in the United States. Their services are used to soothe people, stimulate recovery, and more. As we now know from scientific evidence, music has an actual physical effect on the body as well.
What Can Music Heal?
Music can be beneficial in just about every circumstance. However, scientists are looking into some specific uses where it has been found to be particularly effective.
Those who have had strokes often have trouble with their speech. It's thought that the act of singing or chanting can increase their fluency! It also has a strong effect on optimism and a positive outcome in recovery overall.
In fact, the same effect has been seen with those who stutter. Music and singing can completely take the stutter away for a time. This is a great relief and a definite boost for someone who is tired of stuttering.
Parkinson's disease affects movement. The rhythm of music can be a great help because it can stimulate the brain to allow more movement. It can help a person with Parkinson's disease to move smoothly and vibrantly!
Memory is one of the biggest areas of study for music's healing power. Research in the area of Alzheimer's disease has been particularly promising. While it doesn't take away or lessen the disease, it can help to stimulate memories for the patient.
It's apparent that music has a special place in both our hearts and our minds, since even those who have nearly completely lost touch with reality can recognize and sing songs they have loved throughout their life.
Music has also been tested to be an amazing de-stressor. You've probably seen its effects yourself! You can come home and pop in your favorite CD at the end of the day and the worries that troubled you during the work hours instantly melt away.
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The Science Behind Music's Healing Power
However, there is science behind this and its healing power. Dr. Mike Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, set out to study this.
He used high-tech imaging to measure blood vessel size while listening to music. What he found was that the lining of the blood vessel relaxed and opened up. It also produced chemicals that help protect the heart.
There is a catch here. It has to be music the person enjoys! If they do not, the vessels close up. This is a stress response -- the opposite of what we want.
Music can heal indirectly as well. You see, stress can have terrible effects on the body and mind long term. It can cause the blood vessels to become rigid, which does not allow the blood to flow freely. Arteries can harden as well. Blood pressure can rise overall. All of this is a recipe for heart attack and stroke!
Stress has a negative effect on the immune system as well. People who are stressed tend to get sick far more often. Those who are stressed often experience fertility and performance issues. Stress can even lead to anxiety and depression. It's an all-around bad mixture for the body!
That's why we see such positive effects from calm music. Music can make you feel great! When your mood improves, the stress gets chased away. It follows, then, that listening to music consistently can improve your health because it eliminates the factor of stress and its effects on the body and mind.
Hospitals Recognize Music's Healing Power
Many hospitals and doctors are starting to recognize the wonderful healing effect music can have. They know that it can reduce stress and anxiety. It can help improve the recovery period -- and it's incredibly cost effective.
You can try this as well! There are so many ways you can integrate music into your daily life. Whether you have a condition you feel could be helped by music or not, music can positively affect your mood and overall health.
Researchers do note that you should change up the music you listen to. That way, it is kept fresh and alive, and the effects remain strong. You are now in a great position because you know that music can be so beneficial. If you should ever need surgery or to overcome an illness, you'll be well aware of the amazing benefits music can hold for you.
It's a great thing that music's healing power is not only being studied, but utilized. We've used music to heal since the beginning of time -- it's part of who we are. We will come to learn much, much more as scientists dedicate their time to this important area of study. Even more important, however, is that you make music therapy a part of your everyday life.
Share it with those you love! If you know someone who is stressed or healing, the chances are high they could use some healing power. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to the wonderful effects music can have on your body.
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