Music flows through your life. Brides take the time to pick the perfect wedding songs. Families sometimes have to choose the perfect songs to say goodbye. Parents sing lullabies to their little ones and teach them to sing simple songs to help improve their communication skills. When you want to relax, you put on your favorite tunes.
All of the things that are done instinctively with songs are the same reasons that music can help heal. Street pianos bring attention to the importance of music, and their Healing Arts program brings those pianos into hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers to help with reducing pain and expressing emotions. More and more, centers of healing are utilizing music and music therapy for aiding in the healing and emotional well-being of their patients.
What is one of the first things you do to calm a fussy baby? You either sing a song or turn on a musical mobile. The beat of a song can slow the heart and breathing rates as they sync to the sound. In the United Kingdon, a musical group called Marconi Union worked with music therapists to create a song that has been clinically proven to slow the listener’s heart rate. The song Weightless reduced anxiety by 65% and reduced resting heart rates by 35% in participants in the study.
Music has been used for several years to help patients with chronic pain. Many studies exist that prove pain reduction due to exposure to music therapy. In one 2006 study, music was played for patients following surgery. They proved that the patients who listened to songs immediately following surgery needed over 18% less morphine than other post-surgical patients. It is believed that music boosts the serotonin levels in the brain, leading to an improved mood and increased tolerance to pain.
Counteracts Chemo Effects
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be frightening and lonely. Many oncology and chemotherapy facilities have found that music not only helps calm the fear and anxiety associated with the therapy itself but that it can minimize the side effects. Patients that listened to songs are found to have less nausea and vomiting than those who do not listen to music during and after treatment.
The brain responds to music in such a way that it can help to stimulate speech in those who have had a traumatic brain injury or stroke. The left side of the brain controls speech, and it also controls singing ability. Music therapy has shown that patients can learn to sing their thoughts before they relearn to express them with speech.