Music does more than sooth the wild beast!
If you experience relaxation when listening or performing classical
music, there might be more to it than just a pleasant experience. Dr Susan
M. Lark, MD, a specialist in preventive and clinical medicine, states that
studies show that music causes definite physical effects in the body, processes
which may actually reduce stress, heal illness and increase our wellness.
According to an article by Dr Lark, who serves on the clinical
faculty of Stanford University Medical School and has written 9 books about
wellness, here are some of the positive effects listening or playing music
can have on us:
It can boost
immune function, helping the body to fight illness. Studies at Michigan
State University revealed that listening to music for as short a period
as 15 minutes, increases serum levels of proteins called 'interleukins'
which protect against disease.
It can reduce
muscle tension, improve physical coordination and even help people to learn
new physical skills. For example, music is widely used in physical and
neurological rehab programs to help disabled patients 'repattern' repetitive
movements after accidents. (Music helps us get through an intense exercise
session as well!)
It can increase
the release of key brain chemicals called 'endorphins', the body's natural
pain relievers. A 1996 study of pregnant women in labor found that those
who listened to music during childbirth required less pain medication.
Another study of surgical patients found that those who listened to classical
music prior to their operations suffered fewer complications and recovered
It can slow and
equalize brain waves, increasing relaxation, alertness and creativity -
and it can be used for periods of intense activity as well as for rest
and meditation. One study revealed that surgeons who listened to classical
music during surgery tended to perform surgery more skillfully while being
less stressed. I know that when I'm trying to do a difficult task on the
computer, listening to music seems to help me think more clearly.
If you are having
trouble concentrating on a project, listening to classical music for 15
minutes can help to increase mental focus revealed one study. On other
hand, listening to jazz or New Age music can increase your creativity focus.
can actually lower your pulse rate and blood pressure, research has shown,
however excessive harsh noise can do the opposite! Listening (or singing
or playing) classical music for 20 to 30 minutes is an effective and pleasant
way to help reduce cardio-vascular stress factors.
Dr Lark recommends our making soothing music a therapeutic part of
our daily lives. According to a wealth of research, doing this will not
only increase our quality of life but might actually increase our lifespan
Other articles about the Healing power of music:
Singing boosts your immune system:
Belt out a tune. In a study done by Robert Beck, PhD, a professor emeritus at
the University of California, Irvine, levels of an infection-fighting antibody
called IgA increased 240 percent in the saliva of choral members performing
Beethoven's "Missa Solemnus" Sing along with the radio or in church or in the
shower. Also try Karaoke to stay healthier!
Source: article on MSNBC
In pain? Try music plus guided imagery
Simply listening to music for 1 hour a day can ease your pain by 20%, Cleveland
Clinic researchers recently found. It can even reduce the need for pain
medication before and after surgery. Music seems to stimulate the release of
pain-masking endorphins in the brain, says Cheryl Dileo, a music therapy
professor and director of the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center at Temple
University. Music can also amplify the effects of a visualization exercise
called guided imagery, in which patients focus on a specific image or sensation
that evokes the emotions they want to feel, says Ronit Azoulay, a music
therapist at the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Beth Israel
Medical Center in New York City.
Prevention Magazine - music for healing and pain relief
Aging musicians have sharper brains!
Musicians who studied the longest as kids, when tested at the ages of 65-80,
functioned better on tests of cognitive skills than those with no musical
education. Scientists opined that the study and playing of music might
form and maintain synapses in the brain.
Published in the journal of Neuropsychology, April 2011
Article by Sue Widemark
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