Everyone knows what it feels like to listen to a song that moves you. A song that gives you chills when you listen to it or maybe it’s the melody or drumbeat that you can feel right through your bones. But can listening to your favorite song boost your immune system?
A song can bring you back to a happy and joyful moment or get you amped up to go on a run. There are even times when a song can stir up sadness or grief as you become reminiscent of a loved one or memory from the past. There is no question that music stirs up emotions and can impact us physically and emotionally.
One of my favorite songs by the famous Doobie Brother’s band actually has it as the title of their song, Listen To The Music. I mean, they seem to have had it right with their famous hit and lyrics:
“Some are happy some are sad…Oh… we got to let the music play. What the people need is a way to make ’em smile.”Doobie Brothers
So, how can a song make you feel so good?
Listening to music stimulates dopamine to be released in the brain. Several brain imaging studies have found that listening to music increases activity in the reward and pleasure areas of the brain, which are rich with dopamine receptors.
Some recent studies have found that listening to music or the formal practice of music therapy, can have the following impact on your overall health:
- Boosts your immune system by increasing levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A
- Music can help with certain neurological conditions by reactivating speech centers of the brain
- Lowers anxiety
- Improves sleep
- Reduces pain and blood pressure
- Reduces depressive symptoms and boosts your mood
- Increases memory and mental alertness.
This practice of Music Therapy is being adopted by Western Medicine. Recently at New York’s Mount Sinai Beth Israel Union Square Clinic, they are using it to help cancer patients. You can read all about the “impact of Music Therapy on anxiety in cancer patients undergoing simulation for radiation therapy” in this article by PubMed.
The Use of Music & Song for Healing in Ancient Civilizations”
The method of using music to improve a person’s overall health is not a new practice. In fact, ancient cultures and civilizations have been using music and specific frequencies for thousands of years to help heal people in their villages and communities.
- Hippocrates is one of the earliest known practitioners of sound therapy. It is said that he played music to many of his psychiatric patients.
- In the early 8th century, bronze bells were used in Asia for healing.
- The use of Himalayan singing bowls dates back to the 10th century AD.
So start making it a regular habit to play your favorite music. The songs that make you feel good, that wake you up or perhaps relax you. That’s the doctors’ orders at New York’s Mount Sinai Beth Israel Union Square Clinic because it’s good for your health.
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