Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Health Benefits of Music

We've probably all used music to relax from time to time. My favorite relaxing tunes are some selections from music soundtracks and Celtic music like that of Enya. Studies have shown that music has many health benefits. For instance, listening to 30 minutes of the right music each day can lower blood pressure, according to research done at Italy's University of Florence. Researchers there found that test subjects on blood pressure medication further lowered their BP levels by listening to music and breathing slowly.

Music has the ability to evoke strong feelings when we listen to it, especially if a certain song is tied to specific events in our past. If we are having a particularly stressful day, listening to relaxing music or certain songs that bring to mind happy memories can help us let that stress go. In some cases, it can help us forget trying life situations we might be living through such as rejection letters, health problems of family members or ourselves, uncertain economic situations, etc.

The growing field of music therapy has been used in numerous types of medical situations, and additional benefits have been boosting immunity, staving off depression, and easing muscle tension.

An interesting article on how music promotes good health can be found here.

Here, for your relaxing pleasure, is "Watermark" by Enya.


Tawny on February 24, 2010 at 1:52 AM said...

Lovely :-)

I adore music. I need it to write, and really enjoy it when I exercise. I heard recently that music will lower your pulse too, so if you're listening to mellow music while you're working out you burn fewer calories than if you were listening to rock.

Malea on February 24, 2010 at 9:11 AM said...

I like to write to Joanne Shenendoah's *Matriarch* -- both soothing and energizing. But I work out to loud, hard rock -- AC/DC, Linkin Park, and the like.

Michelle Butler on February 24, 2010 at 9:49 AM said...

I love, love, love music too. I often have it on in the background. I use it to boost my mood, psych myself up for something, push myself harder in a workout, calm down/relax, sometimes to get in the right mood to write a certain scene, etc.

I read in Karen Armstrong's latest book (believe it was the promise of God - KA is a big name religious scholar) that music is a transcendent experience, and that is a big part of its appeal. I found that thought-provoking. (Part of her argument is that humans seek out transcendent experiences, and the practice of religion can offer many.)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on February 24, 2010 at 12:58 PM said...

Tawny, interesting about the pulse effect. I suspect the pace of the music would affect how hard/fast you'd be working out. I don't typically write to music though. I'm easily distracted.

Malea, I like to work out to rock too. I like Linkin Park. :)

Michelle, I think Armstrong is right about music being transcendent. For instance, I've been watching the skating at the Olympics, and how I respond to a program depends greatly on the music they select and how it pulls me into the story they're telling on the ice. Some of the skaters are wonderful skaters, but I'm not captivated by their programs.

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