Is listening to your favorite song good for your health?
Ever feel that rush of excitement when your favorite song comes on the radio? Research shows that music may do more than perk you up–it may actually improve your health. Recently, music has become more than just a form of entertainment for people; it has become a source of therapy for those looking for new forms of healing.
Similar to an assortment of medications and therapies, music therapy can be used in a variety of ways to help a patient. Generally, it falls into two categories: passive or active. Passive music listening refers to when an individual is listening to either live or recorded music but there is no active participation with the therapist. Active music production, on the other hand, allows the patient a chance to become involved and participate in the therapy session. This can involve the individual singing, creating music and even playing an instrument.
“Music therapy is an expressive therapy, consisting of a process in which a music therapist uses music and all of its facets – physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help patients improve on their physical and mental health,” says Dr. Savitha Susarla, who specializes in family medicine at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill.
And while music therapy has long been known as an outlet for stress, anger and other negative emotions, new research also shows it can help with a variety of illnesses and appeals to a large variety of patients. A few positive health benefits that have been found as a result of music therapy include:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved quality of sleep
- Reduced anxiety
- Elevated mood and motivation
- Decreased nausea in patients going through chemotherapy
- Lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Reduced pain
For many, music goes hand and hand with relaxation. One reason why: music with a slower beat actually slows down a person’s brain waves, which can result in a patient feeling better.
Just how beneficial can music be? “Listening to music was also found to be more effective than prescription drugs before surgery,” according to one study.
So next time you are listening to your favorite song, consider the powerful effect of music on your health, and enjoy.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.