Music is powerful. The urge to produce a beat, to communicate through song and dance is as old as primitive man. Whether with drum and bass or rock and sticks, music has an interesting power over us as listeners. Altering our mood, allowing us to relax or conjuring old memories, Music potential is limitless. A special bond between performer and listener ensures that no two people will feel a song the same way and that phenomenon is more far-reaching than you think. What are some of the ways music can be healthy for us?
In recent studies, Neuroscientists have discovered that listening to music has a quantifiable reaction in the human brain. Activating the reward centers of the listener’s brain, music can and will heighten positive emotion, and release dopamine to elevate our emotional levels to that of near elation. Conducting scans of patients’ brains while listening to music also revealed that almost no centers of the brain are immune to music’s touch. It should come as no surprise that culturally, music has been used in tribal rituals as a gathering tool and for healing. The thrumming power of live music has an entrancing effect, connecting whole swaths of people in joy-fueled reverie. Modern medicine, adopting the tricks of ancient tribes, have begun flirting with using music to aid in the recovery of certain procedures.
Music has a scientifically proven ability to reduce anxiety-induced increases in stress hormone. Able to sooth a climbing heart rate or calm skyrocketing blood pressure, music literally combats stress. Another fascinating study has shown that patients receiving hernia surgery have demonstrated a drop on cortisol levels, but only after listening to music post-surgery. Music’s ability to reduce stress has shown to be more effective for some patients than orally-administered anxiolytic drugs.
The medical benefits of music continue even further when a study conducted with 272 premature babies revealed staggering results. While the children recovered in the neonatal ICU, parents or performers played music for their young and fragile audience, and the infants demonstrated not only increased activity but an affinity for lullabies sung by their parents. From fighting disease to managing pain, music has a very real power over much more than our feet.