Be it Jazz, Soul, Rhythm and Blues or Pop, you most likely have a track or song that touches your heart and unlocks innermost feelings and thoughts. No doubt, music is one of the most universal themes we all share as humans. It is ‘the world’s most famous and popular language’. Interestingly, experts have observed that babies have the capacity to recognize musical tones even before acquiring language abilities. That is why our love for musical tunes remains with us throughout life.
Have you ever wondered if there are specific health conditions that can be managed by listening to music? Could listening to musical notes more often help you deal with some unpleasant or distressing health problems? Are you looking for additional ways to support loved ones with chronic health problems?
Consider 5 health benefits of music supported by science:
Get a good night’s sleep with music
Do you have a hard time falling asleep? Do you find it difficult to stay asleep, perhaps waking up frequently during the night? Difficulty in sleeping despite desiring to do so may be associated with accidents, falls, feeling un-refreshed, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, poor concentration and memory impairment.
Happily, music is a viable, safe, and easy to administer alternative to sedatives and other medications. Accordingly, a 2015 systematic review of 6 studies involving 315 participants concluded that listening to 25-60minutes of music daily may improve the quality of sleep in those with symptoms of insomnia.
How does this work? One major way is that slow, soothing melodies reduce tension and helps you to feel relaxed. Additionally, it may also distract you from immediate concerns and events that make you unduly anxious or worried. So, taking regular ‘doses’ of music may be just what you need to improve your sleep.
Music is heart friendly
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. According to the WHO, about 17 million persons die annually from heart related conditions such as stroke and coronary heart diseases. Therefore, persons with coronary heart diseases (CHD) have a high risk of heart attacks and sudden death.
However, do you know that research has shown that when individuals with CHD listen to songs, it may improve their clinical outcome and quality of life?
According to a Cochrane review of 26 trials, music may alleviate anxiety, stress and reduce problems like pain and poor sleep common in these persons. It has been found to help individuals recovering from heart surgeries which may facilitate return to work and other obligations.
Music-a great way of supporting people with Cancer
Cancer is one of the commonest causes of death worldwide. In 2012 alone, about 8.2 million cancer related deaths occurred. Furthermore, many persons living with cancer have emotional, psychological problems that significantly reduce their ability to cope with the illness. For instance, some cancer patients have to deal with anxiety, pain and tiredness. Others become depressed and live with disabilities.
Gladly, evidence from a systematic review of 52 trials suggest that music therapy is a useful tool in dealing with anxiety, pain, fatigue, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure in people with cancer. In fact, music was found to generally improve their quality of life. So music may be a great way of supporting persons living with cancer. According to Hans Christian Andersen ‘where words fail music speaks’.
Music helps persons living with Mental ill-health
Depression, anxiety and other serious mental conditions like schizophrenia are forms of chronic disorders that affects millions of persons worldwide.
For instance, about 350 million persons live with depression worldwide. Furthermore, depressed persons may experience low mood, reduced interest, energy levels and appetite. In some cases, feelings of hopelessness, low self esteem and low self worth set in. Sadly, without treated, the individual may harm herself or attempt suicide. In view of this, most depressed individuals require formal evaluation, medications or psychological interventions.
Thankfully, apart from medications, research suggests that listening to relaxing music may improve a person’s mood. While depressed individuals find it difficult to adhere to use of medications, the studies showed that many depressed persons find music acceptable making it useful a valuable complement to other forms of psychological treatment.
Persons with anxiety also benefit from listening to songs. Research reveals that music is a viable alternative to sedatives in treating anxiety in persons with medical or surgical conditions. In Schizophrenia, songs may help individuals relate better with others, increase motivation to work and engage in other meaningful activities. These facilitate the reintegration of persons with major mental disorders with the community.
Music for Children living with Autism
Children with autism find it difficult to start conversations and maintain eye contact. Additionally, they love sticking to routines and may not always be able to understand your intentions and body language. These affects their communication skills and may impair their relationship with others at home or school.
However, a review of 10 major studies involving 165 children with autism suggests that music therapy helps children with autism to relate better with others and communicate well too.
Therefore, this may be useful in families with autistic children where the quality of relationship between parents and children largely depends on the communication skills of both parties.
It is important to note that most of these studies involved pre-recorded music administered by trained music therapist. Nevertheless, it has been shown that allowing the individual to listen to his choice of songs may also have a similar impact on health. Yes, listen to music to enjoy the health benefits of of this non-toxic, easy to administer and reliable medicine.
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