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The impact of music on health is greater than we realise

Music has always been used generically for healing, but according to researchers it may be an ingredient for prolonged happiness and cognitive ability; even for stroke patients and individuals with dementia.

The benefits of listening to music are wide ranging and offer improvements in well being, a decrease in pain and invigoration of memory and concentration to name a few. Neuroscientists have discovered that positive emotions through the reward centers of our brains are stimulated via the release of dopamine, of which listening to music is the catalyst. The chemical is responsible for making us feel happy.

In a wider context, researchers have established that music impacts upon almost all regions of the brain prompting speculation that music’s healing effects are significant in a multitude of ways.

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These have been exhibited particularly amongst post surgery patients and in those suffering with alzheimers; both groups have experienced benefits to health and well being through the process of listening to music or making it.

Music can be used to reduce stress, decrease the heart rate and systolic blood pressure, even during extremely painful times. It would appear that it is an analgesic (pain reliever) in a much wider sense than conventionally thought. Those with fibromyalgia (severe pain that emanates from the musculoskeletal region), have experienced a decrease in pain through music, too.

Researchers believe that music can also aid in immunity which may be helpful in preventing disease in the first place. It does this by increasing the numbers of antibodies that constitute the body’s defense mechanism. Music’s ability to reduce stress likely coincides with the boost to immunity.

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A rise in motivation levels subsequently enhances memory. Playing a musical instrument also contributes to concentration and thinking processes.

It has long been known that music is the language of the soul, that everyone can understand and takes us to another place. Its benefits are now being shown as holistic in every sense of the word.

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About Judith Brown

I did an MA in English literature at Kings College London where I wrote a dissertation on representations of characters with learning difficulties. I am very imaginative and write on a range of topics. I like to read, listen to music and draw.

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