After a stressful day at work you get in the car and turn on the radio. Your favorite song just happens to be playing and instantly you begin to relax and forget your worries.
That’s the power of music.
A simple song can affect your actions (you start tapping your foot), your thoughts (it takes you back to the first time you heard it), and your feelings (the right song can make you laugh or cry). Music has also been shown to have a significant effect on your physical and mental health.
From pain relief to stress reduction, here are five good reasons why you should turn up the tunes.
It’s not just a theory. Scientific research has shown that music has a pain-relieving affect. More than just a distraction, music actually reduces the amount of pain you feel. When music is heard, activity slows down in the part of the brain that regulates negative emotions and increases activity in the brain areas that stimulate pleasure.
Listening to music has been found especially helpful for those in intensive, palliative (pain-relieving), or geriatric care.
Music is processed by the part of the brain responsible for heart rate and breathing. This may explain why listening to an enjoyable song improves the health of blood vessels and circulatory system.
One study found that listening to classical, Indian, or Celtic music while practicing deep breathing exercises for half an hour a day lowers your blood pressure by four points. This is equivalent to the reduction that results when you reduce the salt in your diet.
Have trouble falling asleep at night? Insomnia can negatively affect all areas of your life. Helpful as they may be, medications can be pricey and come with potential negative side effects. A better solution to your sleep woes is to try listening to classical music. Peaceful tunes decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing; relieve anxiety; promote relaxation; and distract racing thoughts. Put all these benefits together and you have a recipe for a good night’s sleep.
The right kind of music has a therapeutic effect. Relaxing while listening to peaceful music is more effective in lowering cortisol (your body’s stress hormone) than relaxing without music. In fact, studies have shown that listening to music promotes as much stress relief as a massage. The next time you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming appointment, test, or phone call, turn on the radio for a few minutes.
Feeling blue or blah? Get off the couch and turn on your favorite tunes for a pick-me-up. Keep in mind heavy metal or music that reminds you of your ex-boyfriend may worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. You have to be picky about the music you choose.
As you probably already know, the right music can get you moving. Fast-paced music with a strong beat will keep you pedaling harder, running faster, and walking farther you could without any musical assistance. Music during your workout can also boost your performance and improve your endurance by distracting you and motivating you to keep up with the beat. You may not even notice you ran an extra mile.
But don’t stop the music when your run is over! Continue listening to help your body recover physically from your workout.
Not sure what music will work for you? There’s no one genre of music that works for everyone. It’s usually your favorite type or the kind that provokes the most positive emotions for you. From Beethoven to Bob Marley and back again, find what works for you and use music to improve your health today.
You can come into Diamond Wellness with your own music that you think would help you relax during your massage, or ask one of the therapists which music usually helps their clients relax.