How Mu­sic May Im­prove Health

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - RETIREMENT LIFESTYLES -

Plato said, “Mu­sic gives a soul to the uni­verse, wings to the mind, flight to the imag­i­na­tion, and life to ev­ery­thing.” Mu­sic of­ten com­mu­ni­cates mes­sages that are not eas­ily ex­pressed, which is one rea­son why mu­sic is such an in­te­gral part of so many peo­ple’s lives.

While many peo­ple love mu­sic for its en­ter­tain­ment value, there is growing ev­i­dence that mu­sic can be good for over­all health as well. A study from re­searchers at the Cleve­land Clinic fo­cused on the use of mu­sic for brain surgery pa­tients who must be awake dur­ing their pro­ce­dures. Re­searchers found that mu­sic en­abled the pa­tients to man­age anx­i­ety, re­duce pain and re­lax more fully dur­ing their pro­ce­dures.

In a study ti­tled, “The ef­fect of mu­sic in­ter­ven­tion in stress re­sponse to car­diac surgery in a ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal trial,” a team of Swedish re­searchers mea­sured serum cor­ti­sol, heart rate, res­pi­ra­tory rate, mean ar­te­rial pres­sure, ar­te­rial oxy­gen ten­sion, ar­te­rial oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion, and sub­jec­tive pain and anx­i­ety lev­els for pa­tients who had un­der­gone car­dio­tho­racic surgery. Those who were al­lowed to lis­ten to mu­sic dur­ing re­cu­per­a­tion and bed rest had lower cor­ti­sol lev­els than those who rested with­out mu­sic.

Many doc­tors now play mu­sic while op­er­at­ing or en­able pa­tients to lis­ten to mu­sic to calm their nerves dur­ing in-of­fice pro­ce­dures.

Ac­cord­ing to Car­ing Voice Coali­tion, an or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing the lives of pa­tients with chronic ill­nesses, mu­sic has also been shown to en­hance mem­ory and stim­u­late both sides of the brain, which may help in­di­vid­u­als re­cover from stroke or those suf­fer­ing from cog­ni­tive im­pair­ments.

Mu­sic also can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on mood. Neu­ro­sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered that lis­ten­ing to mu­sic height­ens pos­i­tive emo­tions through the re­ward cen­ters of the brain. Mu­sic stim­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of dopamine, cre­at­ing pos­i­tive feel­ings as a re­sult.

Some re­searchers think that mu­sic may help im­prove im­mune re­sponse, pro­mot­ing faster re­cov­ery from ill­ness. Un­der­grad­u­ate students at Wilkes Uni­ver­sity mea­sured the lev­els of IgA — an im­por­tant an­ti­body for the im­mune sys­tem’s first line of de­fense against dis­ease — from saliva. Lev­els were mea­sured be­fore and af­ter 30 min­utes of ex­po­sure to var­i­ous sounds, in­clud­ing mu­sic. Sooth­ing mu­sic pro­duced sig­nif­i­cantly greater in­creases in IgA than any of the other con­di­tions.

An­other way mu­sic has been linked to im­proved health is its abil­ity to make phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity seem less mun­dane. Lis­ten­ing to songs can dis­tract one from the task at hand, push­ing fo­cus onto the mu­sic rather than the hard work be­ing done. When ex­er­cis­ing, up­beat mu­sic can help a per­son go a lit­tle fur­ther as they work to achieve their fit­ness goals than work­ing out with­out mu­sic.

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