Music To My Ears – & Brain, & Heart, & Health…

By Dr Ernst
July 14, 2021

You like music, right? Of course you do. But did you know it serves a health purpose in addition to just being something we all enjoy?

Music Super-Charges Your Brain Function

Most people have their own particular styles of music they enjoy. Music is one of the greatest joys of mankind and it has an effect on stimulating the brain and enhancing learning. Listening to music stimulates the whole brain through diverse neural circuitry that stimulates better brain metabolism. Listening to enjoyable music improves your brain function.

The brain is divided into two major hemispheres called the right and left hemispheres. The right brain is thought to process information through creative imagery. The left brain is the analytical side that controls verbal and mathematical processing. The corpus callosum connects the left and right hemispheres and controls the communication between these two.

Music Helps Connect Your Brain Hemispheres

Music has the amazing potential to alter an individual’s state of consciousness. Music therapy has been shown to shift a person’s complete perception of time and stimulate unique emotions and memories. Listening to music boosts endorphin release which lifts our spirits and activates positive emotions and states of euphoria.

Music is unique in that it activates a broad array of neurons across the corpus callosum. This creates a state of harmony between the two hemispheres. The non-verbal melodies of music stimulate the right brain while singing stimulates the language center in the left hemisphere.

Music Helps Boost Creative Energies

Music also boosts creative energies through the production of alpha and theta waves. Large influxes of alpha waves induce states of enhanced creativity, while theta waves are associated with dreaming, learning, and relaxing.

The key to boosting creative energies is to listen to the type of music you enjoy the most. If you want more inspiration in language and mathematics it would make sense to listen to music while singing, while music without words stimulates more artistic and visual senses.

These types of music can also be used to help balance the hemispheres effectively. Someone who has a left brain focused job such as an accountant may experience an increased level of peace and stability when they listen to classical music or other right brain style music.

Someone with a heavy right brain position (such as an artist) may do well with rock n’ roll or other lyric based music to charge up their left brain. This is all subjective to the unique tendencies and subtleties of the individual but more research is pointing in the direction of using music to balance and stabilize the hemispheres.

Music Therapy and Your Health

Classical or light music helps to calm and relax blood pressure. Researchers have shown that listening to calming music for periods of time every day is extremely effective for stabilizing blood pressure levels.

Music therapy is used to help patients with neurological conditions by stimulating unique regions and enhancing blood flow and metabolism. This sort of therapy was popularized by Dr. Oliver Sacks and featured in the movie “Awakenings.”

It is also often used to calm stress in people experiencing trying times. There are many stories of patients making miraculous recoveries thanks to music therapy. One famous story is about a leukemia patient named Paul whose rigorous and draining treatments put him in a coma for more than two months. Upon awakening, Paul could not walk or speak, but with the help of some guided music therapy, Paul regained his voice and his ability to walk after only a few months.

Recently, music therapy has become a popular and effective treatment for autism. One of its greatest triumphs is giving people with autism an outlet for expressing themselves, either by playing music themselves or choosing music that reflects their mood. This gives family and treatment personnel valuable insights into how autism sufferers feel, something that is often a mystery.

So crank up your favorite tunes! Dance around the house (like nobody is watching), lower your stress levels, think more clearly, and just generally feel better. In all honesty, what could be more perfect? We all like music, and if it can help us recover from illnesses, improve ourselves and better our lives, why not? Turn it up!

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