The Power of Music

Music has a feeling, a rhythm, a quality that takes us to varying degrees of consciousness. It has always fascinated me how a specific song can take you directly into a memory. I have songs that take me back to specific boyfriends or memories of my youth. My younger brother has always had a fascination, almost an obsession with music. He is the individual that has his record player, his albums, collects speakers, and in some sense almost lives in the past with his songs that take him back to ‘seemingly’ better times in his life.

I think we are all at some degree influenced by what pulses rhythmically around us. Music has been scientifically proven to be able to help depression. Other studies have shown that music helps reduce pain and anxiety, it relieves stress, helps with memory, physical ailments, improves mood, improves sleep quality, improves immune function, improves learning…

DEPRESSION: A 2011 study by researchers from McGill University in Canada found that listening to music increases the amount of dopamine produced in the brain – a mood-enhancing chemical, making it a feasible treatment for depression.

STRESS: Just like listening to slow music to calm the body, music can also have a relaxing effect on the mind. Researchers at Stanford University found that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Since music is so widely available and inexpensive, it’s an easy stress reduction option. -science of people article

BRAIN: Scientific studies – ranging from investigations of the brain at a cellular level, to psychiatric assessments of schizophrenics, to linguistic scores in stroke patients – are all leading to the same conclusion: music isn’t just a form of entertainment, it is evolutionarily significant. And the more we learn about the impact of music on the brain, the more we understand how it can be employed as a therapeutic intervention. -sciencefocus

“One of the things that makes music so interesting is that it’s pleasant but at the same time cognitively demanding,” says Särkämö. “This is one of the few therapeutic interventions we have that is both soothing as well as challenging.” -sciencefocus

HEALTH: Another study from Massachusetts General Hospital found that listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients by lowering stress hormone levels, but the music also decreased blood levels of interleukin-6—a protein that has been implicated in higher mortality rates, diabetes, and heart problems. -greatergood article

LEARNING: Music enjoyment elicits dopamine release, and dopamine release has been tied to motivation, which in turn is implicated in learning and memory. In a study published last year, adult students studying Hungarian were asked to speak, or speak in a rhythmic fashion, or sing phrases in the unfamiliar language. Afterwards, when asked to recall the foreign phrases, the singing group fared significantly better than the other two groups in recall accuracy. -greatergood

EXERCISE: Researchers in the United Kingdom recruitedthirty participants to listen to motivational synchronized music, non-motivational synchronized music, or no music while they walked on a treadmill until they reached exhaustion levels. Measurements showed that both music conditions increased the length of time participants worked out (though motivational music increased it significantly more) when compared to controls. The participants who listened to motivational music also said they felt better during their work out than those in the other two conditions. -greatergood

Music literally accesses every part of your brain. It is so good for you. It lights you up, it calms, it stirs action, movement, eases pain, heals illness, it truly is a miracle drug on many levels. We need to take high, daily doses of this good stuff. Listen to the music that seems to stirs your soul, that inspires, that seems to take you to levels of good health and happiness.

Here are a few ‘feel good’ songs from my music list:

To CALM

 

To FEEL PEACE

 

To FEEL HAPPY

Some of my other favorites (that I usually ask Alexa to play) include: Lights and Motion or Hammock to calm or play while working on projects. I do however smile and dance every time I play “Work this Body” by Walk the Moon. It is just FUN!

Hope you feel even better today.

Peace and Love to you.  -H

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The Soundtrack of your life. What are you playing?

music-finds-the-secret-places-of-the-soulI have always had a fascination with music, the soundtrack of our lives and the way it can affect us–good or bad.  I think my first real experience with the power and influence of music was when I was a teenager and my brother had been talking to me about taking his own life.  Of course, I was worried and did my best as a young teen to help, but in the end, he followed his personal need & took our family car off a cliff. Luckily, he survived, even though the car was totalled (a dime on the car floor was bent in half), he was thrown from the car into a snow bank & was able to walk out of the canyon alive. After a few days, he shared a scary story about the power of music. While he was driving down the canyon the song, “Devil Inside” came on & in this instant he steered the car off the cliff. I cannot say this song or the energy behind it had any possible cause, but I can tell you that my brother distinctly remembered this song playing & then taking the car off the cliff.

So, why am I sharing this story?? Because I have always believed good or bad—music can have a powerful affect & we need to be aware of what we are playing as the soundtracks of our lives.

Here is another alarming study to show the harm of harsh music (I shared this in my positive vs negative post) but incase you missed it: Sixteen-year-old David Merrell, a student at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, Va., thought that the loud sounds of hard-rock music must have a bad effect on its devoted fans and came up with a way to test that damage.

Merrell got 72 mice and divided them into three groups: one to test a mouse’s response to hard rock, another to the music of Mozart and a control group that wouldn’t listen to any music at all, rock or classical.
The young vivisectionist got all the mice accustomed to living in aquariums in his basement, then started playing music 10 hours a day. Merrell put each mouse through a maze three times a week that originally had taken the mice an average of 10 minutes to complete.

Over time, the 24 control-group mice managed to cut about 5 minutes from their maze-completion time. The Mozart-listening mice cut their time back 8-and-a-half minutes.
But the hard-rock mice added 20 minutes to their time, making their average maze-running time 300 percent more than their original average.
Need we say more? Well maybe we do. Merrell told the Associated Press that he’d attempted the experiment the year before, allowing mice in the different groups to live together.
 “I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other,” Merrell said. “None of the classical mice did that.” (taken from edu-cyberpg.com)

So, please be aware of the negative music that you may have within your life or in the lives of those you love.

100101951_zps319d376eSo here are some great discoveries, wonderful articles, good information about how music helps heal.

How music heals 

Music can produce direct biological changes, such as reducing heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. There are so many proven positives to good music. Here are only some of them…Eases pain, anxiety, motivates, increases workout endurance, improves sleep quality, enhances blood vessel function, reduces stress, induces a meditative state, helps with depression, elevates mood, improves cognitive performance, helps people perform better in high-pressure situations, relaxes and more… (to read further details on the above benefits go to http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music)

There is also preliminary evidence showing that listening to music can boost immune system function by decreasing stress hormones and increasing growth hormones. These changes should prime the body to be in a better state for recovering from and resisting illnesses, but the research is weak thus far and needs further investigation. -jamescleararticle

There are a range of studies that link music to happiness and pleasure in different ways. Despite the differences in the individual studies, the scientific consensus on the topic is that music does stimulate the same areas of the brain that trigger pleasure in other activities. A range of studies have found that listening to pleasurable music stimulates the mesocorticolimbic system in the brain, which is the same “pleasure center” that is triggered by humor, tasty food, and even cocaine. In this way, you could say that music is like a drug. If music makes you happy, then it might be possible that it is good for your health. -jamesclear.com (great article http://jamesclear.com/music-therapy)

One of the reasons why listening to music is so healing for us is due to the power of musical intervals.When we listen to all the intervals in the musical scale it is profoundly healing for our body and our mind. Listening to musical intervals is good for: Insomnia, Getting babies to sleep, Cancer, Joint Problems, Depression, Anxiety and most illnesses. -Positivehealth.com

Music Healing Mental Illness: Nowhere is this legacy more clear or important than in the movement to use music to treat mental illness. One in four(link is external) adults in the U.S. suffers from a mental illness in a given year, yet only 40 percent(link is external) receive treatment. The public health implications are considerable; mental health issues cost the world $2.5 trillion(link is external) annually in health care costs, loss of functioning and loss of life.     We now know through controlled treatment outcome studies that listening to and playing music is a potent treatment for mental health issues. Research demonstrates that adding music therapy to treatment improves symptoms and social functioning amongschizophrenics(link is external). Further, music therapy has demonstrated efficacy as an independent treatment for reducing depression(link is external)anxiety(link is external) and chronic pain(link is external).  -psychologytoday.com

In his book “Awakenings,” the British-American neurologist Oliver Sacks writes of patients who went from being catatonic to fully functional when music was added to their environment.  -WallStreetJournal article

Another article about “Alive Inside” documentary about patients with dementia, bipolar, schizo…and how music is a backdoor that awakens something inside. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865611277/Alive-Inside-is-a-testament-to-the-healing-power-of-music.html?pg=all

open-door-gabriela-insuratelu“Music might provide an alternative entry point” to the brain, because it can unlock so many different doors into an injured or ill brain, said Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, a Harvard University neurologist. Pitch, harmony, melody, rhythm and emotion — all components of music — engage different regions of the brain. And many of those same regions are also important in speech, movement and social interaction. If a disease or trauma has disabled a brain region needed for such functions, music can sometimes get in through a back door and coax them out by another route, Schlaug says.

“In a sense, we’re using musical tools to particularly engage certain parts of the brain and then teach the brain new tricks — new tools — to overcome an impairment,” he says.

Reading: Research suggests that people with dyslexia, or difficulty reading, also fare poorly on tests of auditory processing. Their timing is also poor. They have difficulty filtering out unwanted background noise and “tuning in” to sounds — such as a teacher’s instruction — that they want to hear. Intensive music instruction has been found to improve those skills, and with them, some skills related to reading.

Movement: If you’re old enough, recall John Travolta walking down the street to the song “Stayin’ Alive” in the opening scene of “Saturday Night Fever.” Now imagine a patient with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain condition that affects the initiation and smooth completion of movement. Here’s where music’s rhythmic qualities appear to get in the back door of a patient’s brain and provide a work-around to brain functions degraded by Parkinson’s. By engaging the network of regions that perceive and anticipate rhythm, music with a steady, predictable beat can be used to cue the brain’s motor regions to initiate walking.

Once off the dime, a Parkinson’s patient can use the music’s beat to maintain a steady, rhythmic gait, like John Travolta.

“It works well and it works instantaneously, and it’s hard to think of any medication that has this effect,” Schlaug says.

Neuroscientists suspect that music may work in much the same way for stutterers, who can experience difficulties initiating speech and maintaining a steady flow of words. Case studies have long observed that when stutterers sing, their halting speech patterns disappear. Music’s predictable beats may help them initiate speech and continue fluently.

Memory: The progressive degeneration of memory in Alzheimer’s disease cannot be reversed or slowed by any intervention. But music can temporarily unlock memories for patients who have lost their grip on nearly every other detail of their daily life and relationships.

Preemies’ weight gain: An Israeli study, published December in the journal Pediatrics, found that playing Mozart quietly in neonatal intensive care units supported the weight gain of premature infants by slowing their rate of energy expenditure. Babies exposed over two days to 30 minutes of music (drawn from, yes, an Israeli “Mozart for Baby” CD) slowed their metabolisms, helping to accelerate their growth.      -LATImes Article

music-and-focusA number of studies show that music therapy – the use of music for medical goals – can reduce pain. In a 2001 study on burn patients, whose burns must be frequently scraped to reduce dead tissue, researchers found that music therapy significantly reduced the excruciating pain. Patients undergoing colonoscopy also seem to feel less pain and need fewer sedative drugs if they listen to music during the procedure, according to several studies. Another study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that people who were listening to their favorite music felt less pain and could stand pain for a longer period.       Deforia Lane, director of music therapy at the University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, has found an improvement in immune response among hospitalized children who played, sang, and created music compared to children who did not get music therapy.    Research conclusions have identified how the affect of music could replicate the effects of hormone replacement therapy in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Music that a person likes – but not music that is disliked – activates both the higher, thinking centers in the brain’s cortex, and, perhaps more important, also the “ancient circuitry, the motivation and reward system,” said experimental psychologist Robert Zatorre, a member of the team.  

The brain grows in response to musical training in the way a muscle responds to exercise. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston discovered that male musicians have larger brains than men who have not had extensive musical training.   -wakeup-world.com (to read the whole article–interesting http://wakeup-world.com/2013/10/08/9-healing-benefits-of-music/)

imagesStudies have proven that music can beneficially affect heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate and shifts in emotions and energy levels. Even more interestingly, the research has proven that the healing power of music goes beyond humans and extends to the animal world. The mood enhancing capability of music has provided tranquil restorations to animals that have been previously abused or neglected. The animals connect with the tones and tempos as a source of relaxation, just as we connect with music in a similar manner.  -Massagetoday.com

Great article: Prescription with Pleasure: The Healing Power of Music http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/alternative/prescription-with-pleasure-the-healing-power-of-music.htm

Well, I hope I have given you enough food for thought on this one. Feel your mind and your life with good things!!

Peace to you.  -H

Music has power

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Music always has a power for me. When I am feeling down I yearn to find music that speaks to my feelings. Music seems to be a playlist of our life. You can listen to a song and it takes you back to specific moments and memories. Music inspires, moves us, pushes us, and will always remind us of the greatness we hold within. It holds the theme songs for our life.  I saw the following ad and wanted to post it because it sang to my soul, so then I gathered a few more to instill the magic that music holds. Hope you enjoy.

I saw this ad for the iPhone and fell in love with the whole concept, the song, the visual, the simplicity.  fyi: the song was written by Rob Simonsen specifically for apple, but he does have some additional music that is calming and beautiful.

Another moving commercial that illustrates the power of music…enjoy. Sweet, heart breaking, but powerful.

Here is one more Coke ad that has a great vision, good music and great heart. It will make you smile & maybe do a little something extra today!!

And one last song I wanted to share. I just came across it & appreciated the musicality of it…

This song has a beautiful balance of instrumental edge with feeling.

 

Music speaks to the SOUL.

-Heather