While music has long been understood as an effective type of treatment to offer an outlet for emotions, the view of using tune, sound frequencies and beat to take care of physical ailments is a comparatively new realm, says psychologist Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, who examines the neuroscience of music at McGill University in Montreal. An abundance of new studies is touting the advantages of music on physical as well as mental health. For instance, in a meta-evaluation of Levitin 400 studies and his postgraduate research fellow, PhD, Mona Lisa Chanda, found that music reduces anxiety and enhances the entire body’s immune system function. Listening to music was likewise found to be more efficient than prescription drugs in reducing stress before operation (Trends in Cognitive Sciences, April, 2013).
“We have found convincing evidence that musical interventions can play a healthcare job in settings that range from operating rooms to family practices,” says Levitin, writer of the novel “This is Your Brain on Music” (Plume/Penguin, 2007). The evaluation also points to health is influenced by music. Music additionally reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
“This is one reason why music is related to easiness,” Levitin says.
“There’s growing scientific evidence demonstrating the brain reacts to music in quite unique ways,” says Lisa Hartling, PhD, professor of pediatrics in the University of Alberta and lead author of the study. “Playing music for children during painful medical procedures is an easy intervention that could make a significant change.”
Mature patients can be helped by music, also. Music therapists worked with the patients to independently tailor the intervention, and patients took part in lyric dialogue, instrument playing, singing and song writing as they worked toward accepting an illness or considered end-of-life problems.
“Active music booking enabled the patients to reconnect together with the healthy elements of themselves, even in the surface of a debilitating illness or disorder-associated anguish,” says music therapist Melanie Kwan, coauthor of the study and president of the Association for Music Therapy, Singapore. “When their acute pain symptoms were alleviated, patients were eventually able to rest.