Music is a big part of our life. It makes the gym workouts go faster. It helps to set the mood for a party. It serves as a perfect ‘excuse’ for the times when you don’t feel like chatting with passengers in your car.
A beautiful melody can give us chills. It can remind us of the brightest memories of our life. It can help us relax after a long day at work or lift our spirits when we are feeling tired and apathetic.
We may not have been able to put our finger on it, but we’ve always felt that music could be beneficial for our mind and body. Now the ‘healing’ effects of music are also backed up by a vast number of scientific studies.
Here are 7 Recently-Discovered ‘Healing’ Effects of Music
1. Decreases Anxiety
Researchers from the Group Health Research Institute found that listening to relaxing music can produce the same anxiety- lowering benefits as a 10 hour-long massage. Sounds pretty amazing! But the real question is – why choose one or the other, when you can have both?
2. Lowers high blood pressure
A study, conducted by University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that there is a direct link between listening to joyful music and better blood circulation. When we hear a tune that we like, our blood vessels’ inner lining dilates. This helps to lower high blood pressure and improve circulation.
3. Makes the world seem friendlier
Anaïs Nin once said that “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are“. A study by Logeswaran et al. seems to back this up. Scientists have found that after a 15- second blast of happy music, people perceived other people’s faces as happier. This effect was even more pronounced for faces with ‘neutral’ expressions. 15 seconds is all it takes to make the world around you a happier place. The best part? You don’t have to change anyone!
4. Soothes Pain
University of Utah Pain Research Center discovered that soothing music can serve as a welcome distraction for anxiety-prone people from feeling pain. I don’t know about “anxiety-prone people”, but it makes perfect sense to take an iPod next time I go to a dental office.
5. Improves Memory
WebMD reported that children, who took music lessons and played musical instruments, did better on verbal memory tests later on in life. This may be a weighty argument to start taking those guitar lessons. Not only is it cool, it’s also good for your brain in the long run, which takes us to the next point…
6. Protects The Aging Brain
Two separate studies published by University of Kansas Medical Center and Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology demonstrated that having musical instrumental training could protect your mental sharpness in old age and reduce memory decline. Get that guitar out of the closet. Seriously!
7. Boost Immune System
Relaxing tunes may increase the body’s production of growth hormone, which, in turn, promotes a healthy metabolism and has a positive effect on immune system. What’s more, there is some evidence, indicating that mellow music helps to reduce the production of harmful stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine.
Beware: All these healing effects are annulled, if not worsened, by listening to unpleasant, dissonant and anxiety-triggering music. So choose wisely what you and people around you listen to – a little less heavy metal and a little more of Vivaldi may go a long way towards making your mind, body and heart happier!