Freelance contribution by Jess Walter
Music has been termed as medicine for centuries. The ancient Greek mythology associated Apollo as the god of healing and music. In a study conducted to check the effect of music therapy on heart function, it was found that music improved exercise capacity by 39 percent. People with ailments like depression, loss of speech, certain cancer side effects and even dementia have benefited from music therapy. It has also been proven that singing, and listening to good quality music may also significantly improve loss of speech, if for example; incurred in an accident, and build confidence and raise self esteem.
How Music Can Help in Healing
Like certain medicines, music helps lessen anxiety and stress by stimulating the brain to release endorphins which heighten the feeling of thrill, and happiness by reducing cortisol levels in the blood that are responsible for stress.Music also helps to stabilise the immune system by producing the antibody immunoglobulin A. IgA attacks invading viruses giving the body’s immunity to pathogens a boost which helps in the healing process. Countless studies, scientific experiments and research papers on music therapy and how it is used to help heal the body have been submitted to support the evidence of music providing healing benefits. Therefore, conclusive evidence suggests that mental health governs physical well being. Mental health is closely connected with spirituality, which gives our lives purpose. Music helps uplift our spiritual health by awakening emotions that are deep rooted in our mind, thus connecting us back to our inner self. This process is stimulated by the release of dopamine, a feel-good-hormone, by the brain when you are listening to music that you really enjoy.
Ailments That Can be Treated By Music Therapy
The fact that music helps in healing and general well being has just been proven time and again through different studies conducted over time. There are numerous conditions that are known to be helped by music therapy. One of these is pain relief; music helps decrease the perception of pain and has helped arthritis patients deal with chronic pain. In other cases, people battling insomnia showed better sleep patterns after listening to good quality music various times during the day. Music at meal times, accompanied with dim lights and nutritious meals, also helps create an atmosphere that makes you eat less and slower, thereby allowing you to savour the flavours, and ultimately helping you to relax and eat less.
The relaxing feel-good chemicals released by the brain in response to music are certainly responsible for these miraculous healing characteristics. Hence, music therapy has numerous benefits on the physical, spiritual and mental health of people. While it is also known to increase academic intelligence of young children, its contribution in healing many chronic illnesses is irrefutable. From improving the recovery process after a stroke, to reducing anxiety in patients with depression, as well as aiding in pain relief, like short term acute pain to chronic arthritic pains, music therapy has indeed scientifically proven to heal.