I like to think I know a bit about music. What I didn't know was that the medical world is now backing music too. As you know, for the last 18 months I’ve been recovering from an acquired brain injury. If you don’t know, swing by here for a brief history.
One thing that has been vital throughout my journey has been adopting a multi-facet approach. That is, many different kinds of doctors, treatments and resources that are all helping me to reach the same end goal.
One resource that I hold in very high regard is music and here's why you should too. Music is a direct line to our deepest feelings. Music can help us release negative emotions and create positive ones. It can open our hearts and help us to build stronger connections with others. It’s like a mutual friend that we share with many people.
When we listen to lyrics, we often relate to them, on a deep emotional level. Lyrics can remind us of a personal experience. But we connect with the emotion behind the words - not just the words. And while most people think that sad music only makes us feel more sad, it can actually allow us to release bottled up emotions. Sad music reassures us, that we are not alone in how we feel. Music is an escape - it can take us away from where we really are.
But I’m not alone with my love of music. The full list of benefits is extensive. Here’s a little sample:
- Music can help us to connect
- Music can reduce chronic pain
- Music can help us feel accepted
- Music can better our self-esteem
- Music can improve concentration
- Music can increase our motivation
- Music can improve our vocabulary
- Music can help us resolve conflicts
- Music can enhance our relationships
- Music can decrease anxiety and stress
- Music can help us to express ourselves
- Music can improve problem-solving skills
- Music can help us release emotional tension
- Music can help us interact socially with others
- Music can make positive changes to our mood
- Music can support healthy thoughts and feelings
- Music can help us adopt positive forms of behaviour
- Music can help us develop coping and relaxation skills
- Music can increase our awareness of self and environment
And now the medical world is on board.
The Harvard Women's Health Watch brings the evidence for music therapy...
"A growing body of research attests that music therapy is more than a nice perk. It can improve medical outcomes and quality of life in a variety of ways. Here’s a sampling:
Improves invasive procedures In controlled clinical trials of people having colonoscopies, cardiac angiography, and knee surgery, those who listened to music before their procedure had reduced anxiety and a reduced need for sedatives. Those who listened to music in the operating room reported less discomfort during their procedure. Hearing music in the recovery room lowered the use of opioid painkillers.
Restores lost speech Music therapy can help people who are recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury that has damaged the left-brain region responsible for speech. Because singing ability originates in the right side of the brain, people can work around the injury to the left side of their brain by first singing their thoughts and then gradually dropping the melody. (Amazing!)
Reduces side effects of cancer therapy Listening to music reduces anxiety associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can also reduce nausea and vomiting for patients receiving chemotherapy.
Aids pain relief Music therapy has been tested in patients ranging from those with intense acute pain to those with chronic pain from arthritis. Overall, music therapy decreases pain perception, reduces the amount of pain medication needed, helps relieve depression, and gives people a sense of better control over their pain.
Improves quality of life for dementia patients Because the ability to engage with music remains intact late into the disease process, music therapy can help to recall memories, reduce agitation, assist communication, and improve physical coordination."
If you’re looking for some new sounds, Freemahon's got you covered. Our Spotify is free, has a number of different genre playlists and you can listen here. It's one of the easiest things you can do for your health. Silence is boring.