Music Therapy: Does It Really Exist? Science Studies Tell Us
Music. Something we all like.
All we have different tastes, but at the end, there's no people who don't enjoy to listen to music.
Maybe you use music to distract yourself from stressful situations or even the painful ones too. Or perhaps you have listened to music while cooking, studying, reading or working out, enjoying it and hoping it would enhace your performance.
You may sense that music helps you feel better, without knowing how:
Only recently science has begun to figure out why it is that way.
Recent researches show that listening to music improves our mental health and also boosts our physical one, in surprising ways.
Let's start knowing them:
MUSIC REDUCES STRESS AND ANXIETY
There're some researches and studies that have shown up that listening to music (at least music with slow tempo, and without loud noises) can reduce stress by calming people down, even during stressfull or even painful events.
Remember the main biological markers of stress: increases in heart rate, hypertension and elevation of cortisol levels. Music can low down all those markers.
There's one study where scientists found that patients who were going to receive surgery for hernia repair (remember that all surgical procedures involves a lot of stress for our body), listened to music just after getting out of the surgery and they experienced decreased blood cortisol levels which made them requiere less morphine to calm down their pain.
In another research involving surgery patients too, the found music had a more intense effect reducing stress than anxiolytic drugs.
MUSIC CAN LOWER DOWN PAIN
There was a study made in 2013 where they used 60 people diagnosed with fibromyalgia (a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body) were randomly assigned to listen to music once a day per 4 weeks. The group that listened to music, had significant pain reduction than the control group. They also had fewer depressive symptoms.
It's not totally clear the way music helps reducing paing, but they suspect it has an impact on dopamine release. Remember dopamina is called the "happiness hormone" or "pleasure hormone". Of course, stress and pain are in biological terms closely linked, so music's impact on reducing stress markers levels may also partly expain the effect on the pain.
MUSIC MAY IMPROVE IMMUNOLOGICAL SYSTEM
Remember that our inmunological system is the one on charge to prevent us to experience diseases. Some researches have shown up that listening to music can boost it and also lead to prevent a lot of diseases.
There's a study in Wilkes University (Pennsylvania) were they looked at how music affects levels of IgA (an importat antibody for our body because it's part of the first line of defense against different kind of agents). Students from the university had their salivary IgA levels measured before and after thirty minutes of listening to one of this 4 conditions: radio broadcast, soothing music, silence or a tone click. The students exposed to the music, had greater increases in IgA than the others, which suggested that listening to music and not other kind of sounds, can improve immunity.
MUSIC CAN AID MEMORY
There's people who listen to music while studying because they say it improves their memory and somehow make them more concentrated. Now, researches have prove this scientifically.
Music helps dopamine relase and this hormone has been closely tied to motivation, which is an important factor implicated in learning and memory. In a study made on 2014, students who were studying hungarian were asked to make one of this things: speak normally, sing phrases, or speak in a rhythmic way, all in the unfamiliar language. The singing group fared significantly better than the other groups in recall accuracy
usic enjoyment elicits dopamine release, and dopamine release has been tied to motivation, which in turn is implicated in learning and memory. In a study published last year, adult students studying Hungarian were asked to speak, or speak in a rhythmic fashion, or sing phrases in the unfamiliar language. Afterwards, when asked to recall the foreign phrases, the singing group fared significantly better than the other two groups in recall accuracy.
There's other study were patients with dementia were ramdomly given 10 weeks of singing coaching and also 10 other weeks for music listening coaching. There was also a group who didn't recieved neither. The test showed that singing and music listening improved in those patients their orientation, mood and memory. And, for studies like this, there's a movement trying to encourage to incorporate music into patient care for dementia patients.
MUSIC CAN HELP US WHILE EXERCISING
I'm pretty sure that almost of all the steemians reading this have listened to music while working out. Now, there are some research supports that affirm that music helps us to improve our performance while exercising.
There's one study were oxygen consumption levels were measured while people made exercise on a stationary bike while listening to different kinds of music. This study showed up that the exercisers who listened to music with a beat that was faster, their body used up oxygen more efficiently than the people who listened to music played at a slower tempo.
Like we all always imagined, music therapy IS REAL. It can manage in amazing ways all kind of body disbalances and even improve our good ones, making me think that music has a lot of potential to being used in the short-team as medicine, since it's natural and totally cheap, and most important, it doesn't have the unwanted side effects that the pharmaceutical products do.
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