Are There Mental or Physical Health Benefits to Listening to Music?
Music is something potent, and many people will say that their favourite music can change their mood. We all have different likes when it comes to music, from heavy metal to classical, country and western to pop culture, but for some of us, the music seems to act as medicine for what ails us really. They say that music calms the savage beast, but is there any facts to back up our feelings? The answer is a resounding yes. Music can indeed offer measurable and medically evidenced mental and physical benefits.
A Great Way to Relieve Stress
Depending on the choice of music, and again varying from person to person, listening to music can actually have a therapeutic effect on the brain and cause the stress hormones to decrease and the feel-good happy hormones to increase. The science behind this claim does suggest that classical music is best here, but for some people, this would act as an antagonist as they do not like this genre of music. Whatever the style of music is fair to say that music with a slow beat will generally induce a slower brainwave speed, which has been compared to the process of meditation or hypnosis.
Boost Your Mood
Conversely, music can also be used to boost your mood, which would see the physiology of the body increased. Feel good happy hormones can be soporific, as the example above, or arousing whereby a surge of positivity and energy can be felt. Naturally to achieve this effect the music would need to be of a more upbeat nature, so faster beats to the tune would be required. Most people will remember hearing a particular track that naturally made them want to smile, and this is the basis of the evidence to this benefit of music. So if you are feeling a little blue, pop on some bright and cheerful tunes, and you should begin to feel better.
Positive Pain Management
While the first two examples relate to music being beneficial to mental health, there are also proven cases of music being able to aid physical health. Studies have been carried out in various branches of medicine, including intensive care patients and those receiving palliative care, which proves music can help reduce pain intensity. While the study concedes the music may only change the patient’s perception of their pain levels, the fact that they report them to be lower means they are suffering less.
Recovery From Strokes
Building on these studies work has been carried out in Finland that supports the theory that music can also improve prognosis and speed up recovery for people that have suffered a stroke. The music developed both their attention and memory which are key factors in this type of recovery. They were also able to demonstrate that the mood of patients who were using music as therapy was better than those who were not.
So, there are mental and physical health benefits to listening to music, so grab your iPod and headphones and get listening to your favourite bands.