Music and the brain
Even ancient civilisations knew of the benefits of music to health and general wellbeing. However it is only in the last few years that technology has been able to show the interaction between music and the physical aspects of the brain.
The extraordinary health benefits of listening to music
In today's world of mass communication we find ourselves bombarded with messages on the latest news regarding what's good and bad for your health and wellbeing. Whether it's a new exercise regime, the greatest detox diet ever or the latest beauty treatment to stop the aging process, there's a seemingly never ending assault on our senses, emotions and bank accounts on ways to look better, enhance our self-esteem and generally feel better about ourselves.
There is however a force for increased health and wellbeing that has been around for centuries, and has been used over the years by many people for a wide range of physical, emotional and psychological benefits.
The power of music
This great health force is music and the benefits derived over the years have been substantial and widespread. Music has been used to relieve stress, improve physical performance and enhance the functionality of the brain in a wide variety of ways.
Different genres and styles of music would seem to provide different types of health benefits and for example, particularly upbeat and rousing pieces of music can influence attitude and behaviour and ultimately performance in a wide range of sporting activities.
The real beauty of music however is that we all have our own preferences and taste in music and just listening to your favourite tracks can have positive effects on our mood, outlook and attitude and this can have a knock on effect in our lives in areas such as work, social interaction and family life. This in turn can prove highly beneficial in areas of improved self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, personal development and a healthy lifestyle.
Listen to music and live longer
It seems incredible that music can help you live longer, but research from the Music Making and Wellness Project showed that an important component of the aging process, the human growth hormone (HGH), was influenced by people learning to play musical instruments. This important study across American universities and colleges showed that the natural levels of HGH, which is a key part of holding back aging conditions such as loss of muscle mass and osteoporosis, increased when people participated in lessons for musical instruments.
Many of us listen to music every day but don’t consider just how much we could be benefiting from it. Our aim is to highlight the multitude of health benefits of both listening to music and playing music and to help relate these benefits to a wider society.
We also like to mention organisations who lead the way in their field and one that we particularly like is Chelsea and Westminster Hospital who were one of the first NHS hospitals to offer music therapy to children. They offer effective music therapy for babies, children and young people with a wide range of social and developmental problems.
Another area where the therapeutic benefits of music can help is in easing the stress and worry that can go with financial problems. Debt and debt related issues can cause serious problems with people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and any therapy that can help people cope in these stressful times is to be welcomed.
In today’s economy many people experience debt problems and current statistics point to the fact that personal insolvency, bankruptcy and debt management plans are prevalent occurrences for a wide range of people across the whole of society. Solutions are important in these situations, but so also is the personal support to identify and implement these solutions.
The financial implications of a debt management solution such as an IVA are well documented but the emotional and psychological effects of having to go through such a procedure are less so even though it can have a major impact on people's mental health, self-esteem and personal relationships.
The ways in which music can help people therefore are wide are varied and we will continue to highlight the many ways in which music can help people in their daily lives.
Plug in your headphones
put your feet up.
Sitting back comfortably with your headphones on is a great way to relax and with a bit of thought you can reap many more health benefits. This applies to everyone but is particularly applicable to the more mature person.
Expose your feet to the elements and let them breathe, place them on a stool or pouffe in a slightly elevated position, move your toes to the beat and you’ve now started to think about the importance of looking after your feet.
Dance and music go very much hand in hand but have you thought about how important it is for dancers to look after their feet. Well the same applies to you.
Don’t let problems start or persist, see a chiropodist on a regular basis and your feet will keep you active and dancing for many years to come.
It’s another component of maximising the power of music.
One of our top charities
Sunbeam's wonderful music for health projects aimed at older beneficiaries is an incredible way to improve the wellbeing of people in residential care homes, day centres or hospice care and fully demonstrates the amazing therapeutic benefits of music. More information at www.sunbeamsmusic.org/music-for-health-projects.htm