A surgeon turns on her playlist to get in the zone before operating. A father rocks the baby to sleep to the tune of a Beatles chorus. A teenager pops in headphones on the bus ride home from school. Music therapy is a natural part of life, and recent research has found that it can provide wonderful benefits.
Research published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care in 2016 found that hospital patients undergoing treatment for cancer were noticeably less likely to suffer from anxiety and pain if they listened to light music for at least 20 minutes. Surprisingly, the researchers were able to discover this difference after only three days of testing; that’s how powerful music is.
The medical benefits of music don’t stop there. Studies have found that music:
• Improves the heart rate of premature babies;
• Reduces anxiety before surgery at a more consistent rate than some medications;
• Helps alleviate pain; and
• Strengthens the immune system.
DIY music therapy
With so many health benefits, music therapy is worth incorporating into your daily life. To use music mindfully, follow these steps:
• Make playlists based on moods. Speedier tempos make your heart pump a little faster, so keep that in mind. Playlists should gradually move you to the mood you desire, so start with a mild example and work up to the ideal.
• For relaxation or stress reduction, listen to music without words so your imagination has free rein.
• To experience the most dramatic effects from listening to music, listen live. An article in the American Psychological Associations’ Monitor on Psychology publication suggests in-person performances — even by amateurs — are more stimulating to the body than recordings.
Whether you’re feeling blue, sick, or injured, listening to music can ease the pain. For individuals looking to find relief without turning directly to medications, this option may help bring your body and mind back into harmony.
This is your song
Music therapists recognize the personal nature of various songs. In a 2013 study published in Progress in Palliative Care, music therapists in Singapore worked with patients who lived in constant pain to help them participate in making music. Part of the treatment involved tailoring the way music was enjoyed to the individual patients.
Music is personal because songs connect to memories, even subconscious emotional memories. When listening to music for therapeutic purposes, select songs that appeal to you and that you connect with, not those that are completely unfamiliar. This can help you connect your current mood to favorable impressions from the past.
If you’re concerned about your health the providers at Siloam Springs Internal Medicine are accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 479-215-3070 or visit NW-Physicians.com today!