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Embracing the healing power of music

Updated on September 28, 2014
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By Michelle Liew Tsui-LIn

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The eclectic icon of the music world says it well. Music has the power to reach others in a way nothing else can. Its healing power and positive, albeit mysterious effect, is something that is almost impossible to explain.

This is why music therapy has been used the world over as a way to heal emotionally and spiritually. Physically, its ability to reduce stress must never be discounted, but for the purposes of this article, we discuss the emotional and spiritual healing power of music.

This article discusses the way in which music heals as well as its unarguable health benefits. We see how music has been used effectively as a form of therapy for those who have emotional needs that need addressing and look at some examples of music that has effective therapeutic power.

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The health benefits of music

Music has incomparable benefits for the body, mind and spirit. Listened to everyday, it has uncountable benefits for our health.

Music enhances pleasure.

A study published in Nature Neuroscience, 2011, indicates that music has the effect of releasing dopamine, the brain’s neurotransmitter associated with happiness and joy.

Music lifts depression and creates better mental health.

Studies conducted by Maratus, et al (2008) show that music has the power to make a person feel less depressed.

Myskja and Nord, in 2008, conducted a similar study. In this study, it was discovered that music reduced the depression level of nursing home residents in Oslo, Norway. 72 residents participated in the study and were separated into two groups, one benefiting, and the other without, music therapy.

The group that received music therapy displayed a significant reduction in depression. Music has the ability to enhance mood and encourages rehabilitation from depression. It also has the ability to reduce teen angst.

It also helps cancer patients, with the effect of a therapist bringing a friendly dog to visit. Music lifts their negative spirits.

It has the ability to quicken the healing of those with brain injuries.

Those who suffer injuries to the brain as a result of accidents or operations benefit substantially from listening to a little music.

Music, a complex auditory language, assists the brain’s motor functions. In a study by Michael Thaut and Gerald McIntosh, music assisted those with Parkinson’s disease, who responded to musical stimuli almost immediately. It proved to be superior to physical therapy. The same effects were seen in stroke victims. Additional areas in their sensorimotor cortex and cerebellum were activated, as compared to physical therapy.

Music also assists those with speech difficulties. It stimulates the auditory and motor systems and helps to pull these systems together in a more effective way for these patients.

This may also explain why people pick up the pace when running while listening to a little music.

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How music enhances our mental states

Our mood is affected by the vibrations of music.

Though we may be affected by what the ear can hear, sound vibrations that we cannot perceive when listening to music have the ability to enhance our moods.

This is why therapeutic music played by certain instruments, like the harp, have a calming effect.

Music is particularly beneficial for young people between the ages of 15 to 25, who experience the angst of youth and mood swings. It helps youth with a tendency to depression and suicide.

People respond readily to music.

People, children, young and old adults, respond readily to music. In this video of a baby dancing to Beyonce, a child younger than a year responds positively to positive music.

Music therapists help physically disabled and mentally challenged patients to express themselves better. Introverted and isolated patients are better able to communicate.

Music helps those with schizophrenia and autism, and enables them to come out of their world, at least for a short while.

Music helps us to focus.

As I write this now, I am listening to Debussy’s Claire De Lune. With an honest revelation of the difficulty writing this morning, the piece is helping me make my thoughts more coherent.

So it is that music enables us to focus. Music motivates the brain’s cortex to release sound waves that induce different states of alertness.

It is an organized, complex and our brain loves it.

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Further benefits and the progress of music therapy

Music therapists the world over help to harness the benefits of music to assist those under their care, and it comes as no surprise. We have seen that music helps the disabled. Music also helps those with neurological disorders, stroke victims and those suffering from stress, as was touched on earlier.

Some music therapists are looking to using music as a preventive measure for depression and anxiety. They hope that it will head off problems that come as a result of being overwrought, such as substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.

Below are some therapeutic music playlists, chosen because the sound waves they emit and their repetitive chord progressions have the ability to calm and soothe. Do enjoy, and relax!

Music Therapy

Conclusion

Music therapy can definitely give all aspects of our lives an empathic, yet relaxing, boost. Everyone is in need of constant healing, and should harness its benefits.


Original Work by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

All rights reserved

Relaxing spa therapy

Music by the waterfall

A hypnotizing drive through the canyon

The relaxing music of nature

Beautiful Harp Music

Relaxing flute music

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    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      On the healing power of music.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Michelle, couldn't agree with you more and know that whenever I need a good pick me up, I listen to music. Even when I was younger and something was bothering me, I would play some of my favorite songs and would feel better. So, I couldn't agree more with you on this. Have, as always, voted and shared, too!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Janine! I was feeling grumpy about writing three posts today, but I had this music on so it was that much easier.Thanks for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is no doubt about it, Michelle! Music soothes...music brings peace...and yes, music heals.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      And that's why we all need it, Bill!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Wonderfully interesting Michelle and thanks for sharing another great hub.

      Eddy.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Eddy!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I love your hubs on music and the wonders it creates for us. Music moves the soul. Each of us marches to a different drummer, but we can't march without a drummer!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      I love this piece and bookmarking so I can continue to enjoy this music. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Amen, Michelle. Music has helped me heal countless times. I couldn't imagine life without tunes! :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      Michelle,

      I was aware about healing power of music but I did not know much of the information you have shared on this hub. I use music in different ways. I practice music meditation, I listen to trance music for concentration, and rock to reduce tension. I also listen to head banging music while doing exercise.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      I am glad that science and medicine are finally learning what healers have known since time immemorial, that music is good for the body as well as the soul. Music in harmony with the rhythms of the body and the earth sooths and heals. However, some studies have found that music out of harmony stresses people. Perhaps that is why acid rock and rap upset some parents so. My husband, a Cherokee, plays the Native American flute to promote healing. People call us when there has been a death in the family or when someone is ill or has been in an accident.

      I like to listen to Pachabel’s Canon while cleaning house. It gives me just the lift that I need – either that or Credence Clearwater, go figure. I use music for meditation, but I can’t use it to focus. I find it distracting when I’m trying to concentrate on something creative. And I can’t stand harps. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Mary!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Wayne, such music is really therapeutic, isn't it? Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      That's too true, Linda!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      That is so great, Vinaya. Glad that you use music to heal!!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      That's so cool, MzBejabbers! The Native Americans were known for their prowess in using music for such healing. It is so great that he helps in such a way! Pachabel is soothing too!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

      I cannot live without music. It is so rejuvenating and helps me through the day esp when stressed.

      Loved your take on the different kind of music.

      Sharing it across!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      I love most music and when I hear popular rock I dance. when I hear old songs I remember and when I hear classical I feel relaxed..Great job on dissecting the joys of music.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for sharing, Carol! Me toes tap and fingers snap too!

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      Thank you for reminding us how powerful and healthy music is for us. There's not one day where I don't listen to music. A very interesting and informative hub with a lot of good points.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      As a musician myself, I agree with everything written here. Music has and always will be, a big part of my life. I use it to inspire, motivate, relax, and lift my spirits. Without music, what a dull world it will be! Thanks for writing such an informative hub.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      It certainly is powerful and therapeutic. Thank for sharing, Janet.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Lovely to connect with a fellow musician, Denise!It certainly would be a dull world, one without meaning. Thanks, Denise!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I've long embraced the power of music for as long as I remember. Music heals, there's no need to spark a debate on that. It sets our mood. Can't live a day without it and right now one of my favorites is "Living in the moment by Jason Mraz. Love the beats and the lyrics that goes: "living in the moment, livin' my life, easy and breezy, with peace in my mind, peace in my heart, peace in my soul, wherever I'm goin' I'm already home...."--very uplifting. I never get tired of listening to it. You'll like it too, promise. Check it out in youtube.

      Great article. Pinning and passing it along. Cheers Michelle!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      An interesting and informative hub, music is the essence and soul of life. It definitely heals and uplifts. Great write, voted up.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Your hub is brilliantly written and organized and such a great selection of relaxation options at the end. Well done. Jamie

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, we definitely feel calmer after listening! tThanks, Cristina!!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Vellur.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Jhamann!

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 3 years ago from New Zealand

      A good reminder about the therapeutic effects of music. I have been trying to find some nice relaxing music and am at present listening to your Debussy - Music by the Waterfall. Thanks for these suggestions. They all look nice! I shall make my way through them. Nice hub.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, tebo!! Good to listen to some soothing sounds for a change!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Embracing the healing power of music, just listening to music daily makes my time so precious and alive.

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      I love to listen to music. Normally when I want to relax I have music as a background. Great hub and definitely interesting.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you JPSO138!

    • abbaelijah profile image

      Abba Elijah also known as elija_god (elijagod) 3 years ago from Nigeria

      Yea, music heals. I am a living witness to that effect.

      Thanks for sharing Midget38 !

      I have enjoyed reading it.

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