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The incredible health benefits of music

Glynis Barber Health 3 Comments

Listening to music is (usually) a very enjoyable past time. Of course we all have wildly different tastes in music and one man’s rock and roll is another man’s country and western.

But when we listen to our favourite kind of music, there’s no doubt that it’s a pleasurable and relaxing experience. We lose ourselves in it and go into a seemingly different realm. And now it seems that music can even boost our health.

Scans have shown that music stimulates the brain

What’s really interesting is that music (if it’s your preferred genre) decreases activity in the areas associated with vision and the focus is firmly focused on listening. This explains why we tend to “lose” ourselves in enjoyable music.

Much is still being learnt and researched on the effect of music on the brain, but music therapy is thought to be a possible aid in stroke recovery.

You can use music to de-stress and lift your mood

I think we all know how good it feels to listen to our favourite type of music. One of the reasons for this is the release of dopamine when listening, which gives a mood boost. At the same time our cortisol levels drop making us feel less stressed.

These factors can also help reduce anxiety and even help reduce depression. However when it comes to low mood or depression, don’t listen to sad music or you’ll feel worse. It would seem that regularly listening to upbeat type music is going to make us feel a whole lot better.

Music can aid memory and learning

Studies have shown that people listening to classical music while trying to memorise something, outperformed those who listened to no music. I’m definitely going to try this out next time I’m learning a script!

Music is now also being used with dementia patients as it’s thought to slow down cognitive decline.

A happy heart is a healthy heart

Yup even your heart loves music it seems, as it can lower blood pressure and make your heart rate drop. In fact, even after very fast tempo music when your heart feels like it’s racing, afterwards your blood pressure will be lower.

Exercise and music go well together

As many a jogger will tell you, listening to music makes it all a lot easier and gives a surge of energy to help with the run. This is also the reason why so many people in the gym have headphones on and exercise classes are always accompanied by loud music. It boosts athletic performance and has been shown to inspire runners to run faster than normal.

Singing can lower inflammation

And then there’s singing and chanting. These stimulate the vagus nerve which activates the parasympathetic nervous system and actually drives down inflammation. Inflammation, of course, being the root cause of most disease.

They still don’t fully understand the impact of music on the brain but studies are showing many positive effects, from pain management to help with falling sleep. Music, it seems, really is the food of love, happiness and health. So yes please, play on.

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Comments 3

  1. As solid as a rock!

    I have a friend loves music, especially Metal. He was at the Eagles of death metal’s concert at the Bataclan in november 2015. He cames out alive, shocked to see and hear all what’s happened along this night. However, at any time, he’s wanted to be help by the special medical and psychological service founded by the government to give support to survivors of this event.

    He just wanted to listen to metal including Eagles of death metal. As he said me, it was my way to step back from anything about this, above all from the media coverage that brought him to this night. Let’s forget about it, talk about life instead of dead.

    Besides I can say that, from an outside point of view, everything seemed to be normal, nothing seemed to be different. He was the friend that I have ever known. Six years later, he doesn’t think about it, no nightmare, no stress post-traumatic.

    With the hindsight, metal gave him the energy to face the music: violence, fears, rage. . .
    are in the human nature but love, calm, happiness. . . are too; so as he says: ” it’s up to you to choose.”

    Have a good time with a cup of tea, two squares of dark chocolate, clouds and rain and music.

    Cyril

  2. Great information Glynis! As a professional musician there is no doubt that you are correct I play music with my friends once a week lunch and jam session they are both retired doc’s and believe that music is great for the mind and well being. Thanks for the great info! Lawrence Barber

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