What Can Music Do To Your Body?

I am sure all of you might have cried your eyes out while listening to Adele’s Hello or if you are into Bollywood music then by hearing channa mereya and danced your heart away on cheap thrills or kala chasma. That music changes our mood is well known. But do you know that it does much more than just that? [Feature Image Credit: Wimborne Fest]

It has a therapeutic effect and can help you fight with many psychological problems like depression, anxiety and in some cases Parkinson’s disease, speech impediments, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In an interview with Foxnews, Jennifer Buchanan a (Canadian music therapist) said that intentional music listening for about 10-20 minutes can put you in the required head space. There has been a lot research done around the healing impact of music and almost all the research conducted, showed a positive link between music and mental health. One of the article published on AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGYCAL ASSOCIATION states various benefits of music to treat pain and reduce stress. The article quotes a study carried on 400 studies found that-

1) Music reduces stress and improves the immune system.

2) Listening to music was also found to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety before surgery.

3) Listening and playing music also increases body’s production of antibody immunoglobulin A and the natural killer cells (cells that attack the invading virus).

4) It also decreases the level of stress hormone cortisol

5) A recent study also found out that music can help soothe pediatric emergency room patients (JAMA Pediatrics, July, 2013)

A new therapy known as vibroacoustic therapy works on the concept of whether sound vibrations absorbed through the body can help ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia and depression. Researchers found that short-term use of vibroacoustic therapy with Parkinson’s disease patients led to improvements in symptoms (NeuroRehabilitation, December, 2009).

It has been found that music also helps us with speech therapy, “The King’s Speech” tells the true story of King George VI’s who had a stammering problem, but his therapists advised him to sing his words rather than saying it, and surprisingly it worked. The reason given behind this is because speech is stored in a different part of the brain than music’s lyrics and rhythm, people who have lost the ability to speak can’t retrieve words or maintain a rhythm in their speech, but many of these people can still sing. Of course the success rate varies from patient to patient.

Music therapy also helps with autism, one study published in NCBI found that when music was used as an intervention for children and teens with autism, social behaviors, attention, focus, communication, anxiety and body awareness all improved.

Studies have also found that music helps:

1) Pregnant mothers: Various studies show the positive effect of music on expecting mothers.

2) Pain management: Research has shown that music can naturally increase oxytocin level, which reduces the pain.

3) Calming effect: Music has shown to alter the rate of heart beat, listening to soft slow music can slower the heart rate having a calming effect.