- Music reduces stress and anxiety.
Research has shown that listening to music — at least music with a slow tempo and low pitch, without lyrics or loud instrumentation — can calm people down, even during highly stressful or painful events. Music can prevent anxiety-induced increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels. In one study, researchers found that patients receiving surgery for hernia repair who listened to music after surgery experienced decreased plasma cortisol levels and required significantly less morphine to manage their pain.
- Music decreases pain.
Music has a unique ability to help with pain management, as I found in my own experience with giving birth. It’s not clear why music may reduce pain, though music’s impact on dopamine release may play a role. Of course, stress and pain are also closely linked; so music’s impact on stress reduction may also partly explain the effects.
- Music may improve immune functioning.
Study from Massachusetts General Hospital found that listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients by lowering stress hormone levels, but the music also decreased blood levels of interleukin-6 — a protein that has been implicated in higher mortality rates, diabetes and heart problems. According to a 2013 meta-analysis, authors Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel Levitin concluded that music has the potential to augment immune response systems, but that the findings to date are preliminary. Still, as Levitin notes in one article on the study, “I think the promise of music as medicine is that it’s natural and it’s
Most teenage always listens to music while they study. Far from being a distraction to them, they claims it helps them remember better when it comes to test time. Now research may prove them right — and provide an insight that could help people suffering from dementia.
Evidence that music helps with memory has led researchers to study the impact of music on special populations, such as those who suffer memory loss due to illness.
- Music helps us exercise.
How many of us listen to rock and roll or other upbeat music while working out? It turns out that research supports what we instinctively feel: music helps us get a more bang for our exercise buck.
In another study, oxygen consumption levels were measured while people listened to different tempos of music during their exercise on a stationary bike. Results showed that when exercisers listened to music with a beat that was faster and synchronous with their movement, their bodies used up oxygen more efficiently than when the music played at a slower, unsynchronized tempo. “Music has the capacity to capture attention, lift spirits, generate emotion, change or regulate mood, evoke memories, increase work output, reduce inhibitions and encourage rhythmic movement — all of which have potential applications in sport and exercise.”