It’s the weekend and at some point you’ll probably relax to your favourite music, watch a film with a catchy title track – or hit the dance floor. There’s no doubt that listening to your favourite music can instantly put you in a good mood. But scientists are now discovering that music can do more for you than just lift your spirits. Research is showing it has a variety of health benefits. Fresh research from Austria has found that listening to music can help patients with chronic back pain. And a recent survey by Mind – the mental health charity – found that after counselling, patients found group therapy such as art and music therapy, the most useful.
Here, we present some proven ways that music can help you and your family’s health:
- CHRONIC BACK PAIN
How it helps: Music works on the autonomic nervous system – the part of the nervous system responsible for controlling our blood pressure, heartbeat and brain function – and also the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls feelings and emotions. According to one piece of research, both these systems react sensitively to music.
When slow rhythms are played, our blood pressure and heartbeat slow down which helps us breathe more slowly, thus reducing muscle tension in our neck, shoulders, stomach and back. And experts say that apart from physical tension, music also reduces psychological tension in our mind.
In other words when we feel pain, we become frightened, frustrated and angry which makes us tense up hundreds of muscles in our back. Listening to music on a regular basis helps our bodies relax physically and mentally, thus helping to relieve – and prevent – back pain.
- IMPROVE YOUR WORKOUTHow it helps: Experts say listening to music during exercise can give you a better workout in several ways. Scientists claim it can increase your endurance, boost your mood and can distract you from any discomfort experienced during your workout.
- MEMORY LOSSHow it helps: For many people suffering from memory loss the spoken language has become meaningless. Music can help patients remember tunes or songs and get in touch with their history. This is because the part of the brain which processes music is located next to memory.