What would my life be like without music? Anyone who knows me well knows that Music is an Essential part of my life — at home, at work in the cath lab, on my run, on the road, and on my mat. I grew up listening to a wide variety of music, ranging from rock n roll (thanks Dad), soft music (thanks Mom), classical music, opera and disco (sorry Dad!).
So as my crazy sister Jen and I embark on a musical adventure, I thought this was a great time to look into the science behind the music. We’re off to the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington state to see and hear Dave Matthews live for 3 days!! This means we have to camp out in a tent for 3 nights, something I have never done! But the idea that music can bring people together like this is compelling and exciting and inviting. We always thought we should have been at Woodstock, so here we go!
We’ve ALL felt the MAGIC of music. Music can lift your soul and mend your heart. It has often helped heal my spirit when it was broken. It makes me feel happy when I’m stressed and strong when I need empowerment. In Yoga, we often chant (Kirtan) to raise the collective vibrational energy before, during and after practice.
But there is so much MORE to the Healing Power of Music. This healing power has been well known for centuries and woven into many cultures.
Now with the advantages of modern technology and research, there is strong evidence to support its healing properties.
Here are a just a few examples of how Music Heals:
- Music can reduce the perception of pain
- Music relieves stress and anxiety
- Music can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate
- Music can boost immunity
- Music, particularly listening to Mozart, reduces seizure recurrence in children with epilepsy
- Music improves post-stroke recovery
- Music can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety
- Music therapy, prescribed music with therapeutic intention, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of patients with Autism, brain injury (as in the case of Congresswoman Gifford), stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Fact — Music can rewire the brain!
- Improves Learning
- Improves Memory
- Improves athletic performance
The Biology of Music
Music activates many parts of the brain, including auditory, motor and limbic systems which in turn send signals through the autonomic nervous system to our major organ systems including our circulatory, respiratory and endocrine systems. This explains the changes in our emotions, heart rate, and respiratory rates when we listen to our favorite tunes. We can use these positive responses to heal that which ails us.
So, put on your favorite song and know that you are doing something good for your health! For me and Jen, it will be a long weekend with Dave Matthews Band! Woohoo!