Music has been a part of our lives since the dawn of mankind. It’s been a part of rituals, ceremonies, big events including weddings and funerals.
Where would we be without music? It would be a very dull world for sure…
Music has an incredibly influential effect on us – sad music can make us feel emotional, help us reflect and feel.
While happy, upbeat music provides a boost of energy, good vibrations and cheers us up.
Fast, upbeat music can make us exercise harder or for longer, when you’re almost ready to give up.
It’s no wonder that music can be used as medicine.
Some mental health issues can spiral into physical health issues – anxiety caused by self-sabotaging thoughts turn into nausea and headaches for example.
Thus by tackling mental health issues (with music), some physical symptoms can be averted as well. Yay!
And who doesn’t love music, right?
Such an easy fix and you get to play whatever songs make you happy/emotional – depending on what mood you’re in.
I find it amazing how we listen to music based on our mood.
When you’re feeling melancholy or nostalgic, you might find yourself playing music from the past, songs that remind you of happy memories, maybe a holiday soundtrack or album that reminds you of a particular destination.
It’s amazing how a song can remind us of a place and time, we can imagine being there, we can smell what we smelt back then and feel how that place made us feel, in the very moment we play the song.
Songs and music have a significant effect on our cognitive behaviour. Our thoughts are very easily influenced by music, which includes the lyrics.
We attach memories and emotions to certain songs, giving us goosebumps when certain, special songs come on the radio.
Our brain responds to each song we play – some songs we like, some we don’t. That’s what makes us all so special and different – no 2 people will ever have the exact same taste in music!
Thank goodness for all those genres, eh?
Festivals are what truly connects people because you know that you’re surrounded by people who enjoy the same music as you do.
There’s nothing quite like live music – it makes you feel more alive, happy and it really stimulates, energises the body, naturally making you want to move and dance!
It makes you feel like you belong, you’re a part of an unspoken community that only emerges and gets together once a year to celebrate the music of a particular genre.
How then, music can be used as medicine?
Can Music Be Used As Medicine?
Music can be used as a form of medicine or therapy to help cure mental health issues and even physical symptoms. Music therapy is a form of healing targeting emotional, physical, and cognitive issues/symptoms and works by listening to different melodies. Music therapy also works through writing lyrics, playing instruments and guided imagery. Music has been found to influence brain waves, and if our brain responds to something positively, it can have a drastic effect on the rest of our body. The brain is the most responsive organ and is responsible for the majority of our daily functioning. It’s no wonder then that music can influence and positively impact recovery from an illness.
We know that music can help with depression, anxiety and stress, but recent studies also suggest that it can support tackling physical symptoms too.
One study on 400 people, found that music can strengthen the immune system, naturally speeding up recovery and preventing from further diseases creeping in.
In another study, lung cancer patients who received music therapy before and after surgery reported lower pain levels and less blood pressure.
If there’s a way of increasing our chances of survival after surgery, or speeding up our recovery process, or simply making us feel mentally better, without having to swallow pills or undergo injections, surely this is the way forward?
You can notice a difference between people who listen to music and those who don’t really bother with it.
Ben for example (my husband) is a HUGE music fan, he’ll always have his phone on him with a song playing, bopping along, or even singing.
Hence why he’s one of the happiest people I know, and very chilled out, rarely ever catching colds.
We also know that singing makes you feel better too, raising our vibrations, relaxing our muscles and helping with our immune system’s strength.
Music and Endorphins
Singing releases endorphins (happy chemicals in our brain) which in return makes us happy and reduces our stress.
If you think about your friends/family that aren’t that keen on music, or simply listen to the radio in the car just to mute the silence, are they slightly less happy?
Do they appear a little more negative in comparison to people who listen to music often?
Music can also help with work – working from home, I find afternoons a little harder for motivation. That’s when I crank up the music and usually play something upbeat, fast and happy to keep me going. And it works!
Helps me from dozing off too… zzzzzzzz….
Ever used music while exercising? You’d be crazy if you didn’t right 😉
Whenever I see people running, they always have earphones in! Whenever I exercise or go for a run, I have music in as well as pumping some fast songs or my running playlist.
Otherwise, the noise from outside including cars and dogs barking gets in, distracting me from my goal.
Music is just the best. That sums it up really.
If it makes us feel better, happier, helps us recover and build immune strength, release anxiety/stress, how can we argue otherwise?
It connects people at live music events and brings our friends closer when that one song comes on and you all start singing at the top of your lungs together. That creates a stronger bond, better connection, and a lifelong memory.
What about more serious illnesses? Like Parkinson’s – does music help with Parkinson’s?
Why Does Music Help Parkinson’s?
Music helps with Parkinson’s disease as it involves movement (dancing) which helps with restoring balance, length and posture in the body. Singing and humming helps relax throat muscles and in return supports swallowing and speech. Having to remember and sing lyrics helps with memory and cognitive ability, so all around it’s an effective way of supporting those with Parkinson’s disease to lead a better quality of life and restore some control of their life and body.
Can Music Help with Depression?
Yes, music can help with depression as music positively affects our brain waves, releasing endorphins when we listen to music, in return making us feel happier. Music raises our vibrations, boosts our energy and helps us tune into our feelings through lyrics, ultimately making us feel happier, more understood and better during those darker days of depression.
Music and Culture
As well as music being a helpful tool in modern medicine, it’s been an ancient tool to bond and bring people closer together, used in ceremonies, rituals and in their daily routines amongst communities.
Tribes had their own songs, and now each country has its own hymn.
In each country you travel to, their local music is different, because of the local culture, the instruments locally produced centuries ago and based on each country’s history, influence and art culture.
These instruments have formed the basis of each of those countries, based on culture and centuries of making songs, people dancing and coming together.
Music bonds us.
We play it at weddings, funerals, birthdays, special occasions, graduations, Christmases (what would even Christmas be without Christmas songs?!).
Music a HUGE part of our culture as a collective society and a great influence on many of us.
Naturally, music can also influence people in a negative way too. Hateful music based on its lyrics and quite frankly, angry screaming isn’t the most relaxing combination.
Rap although getting more popular by the day, can contain lyrics that are often offensive, hateful, sexist and encourage violence in some songs.
Certain rap songs also glamorise drug abuse and violence, which isn’t helping shape our generations or communities in a positive way.
To end on a positive note however, lyrics can be an as strong a boost to our mood, as the sound itself. Words are very powerful, and when combined with a rhythm, they can be very influential and mood-boosting as well.