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The Music of Health

Posted Apr 15 2012 8:52pm

Music is one of the few things everyone can collectively enjoy at almost any time of day. Whether you’re getting ready in the morning, getting over a tough break-up, or gearing up for a brutal workout, music can be used to fill the empty spaces of our hearts or ignite our souls with feel-good lyrics and melodies. But new research has found that it can be good for our bodies too!

According to The Mayo Clinic , music can aid in improving communication, reduce pain sensations, enhance memory, counteract depression, encourage relaxation, and promote sleep. Whether you’re a fan of Kenny Chesney or Kanye West, listening to music can be beneficial to your overall wellbeing and has been studied to help those in both sickness and in health live better lives.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute , and the researchers at Drexel University, music has been found helpful in easing cancer patients anxiety. The study of nearly 2.000 participants found that listening to music during treatment resulted in lowered blood pressure, normalized heart rates, and better overall moods.

Marie Helsing of the University of Gothenburg wrote her  doctorate thesis on the stress-reducing qualities of music. Helsing looked at two studies that found that listening to music results in more positive overall emotions. Helsing noted that not all music has the same effect of people, and that in order to benefit positively from a ballad or tune, one must listen to the type of music that he or she enjoys.

The American Psychological Association  studied music to have a positive effect on sound processing. The research found that musicians have better overall auditory ability after testing musicians (both ammeter and  professional) on their hearing abilities after years of playing. The research concludes that musicians are able to process sound better than non-musicians.

At The University of Maryland Medical Center , music has been found to have a positive impact on heart health. Research found that listening to music can result in better blood circulation through the blood vessels, especially with “happy” music, while the opposite was true for listening to “angry” music.

Music has been studied to lower anxiety levels as well as a good massage at the National Institue of Mental Health . Research concluded that lying down and listening to music reduces anxiety just as well as an hour long massage.

Scientists have also found that immune boosting antibody levels raise in the body after just 50 minutes of uplifting listening while stress-causing levels of cortisol decrease. 

The following are some of my personal favorite positive-mood evoking jams. Remember that whatever music puts you in a good mood is the stuff you should listen to in order to reap all the health benefits!

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