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Music Is Medicine 🎶

“Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.”
– Debasish Mridha

Who does not love music?

From calming to rock , to jazz to classical … music has been around for thousands of years , it is part of our culture, our heritage and our history, it makes us sad and makes us happy.

Besides connecting us together,  helping us to dance & move – and making us feel good, music can also heal!

For the past couple of years, researchers have been extensively exploring how music is therapeutic – when used alongside traditional medicine – how it can have positive affects in the healing process ( from reducing the side effects of cancer to aiding in pain during operations) ; including showing positive & stabilizing affects in premature infants – as well as aiding people with depression & anxiety ; and even Parkinson’s disease. Music Therapy has also also been found to improve our memory and learning , reduce the feeling & discomfort of pain and even improve our moods and state of mind.

Music is ancient.

But how ancient? The oldest music instrument found in the world was a Neanderthal flute – aged at about 60,000-yeas old.  It was discovered in Divje babe cave near Cerkno and has been declared by experts to have been made by Neanderthals.1 Imagine having been alive to hear that flute play ?

Music connects us

Listening to music benefits us individually and collectively. Researchers think one of the most important functions of music is to create a feeling of cohesion or social connectedness2. Brining humans together as part of a whole as such – think of a national anthem or music concert… it unites people together when we have the same interests and beliefs.

Music and Memory

Researchers from the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development3 have found that music increases memory and retention as well as maximises learning capabilities.

Our brains trigger particular emotions, memories and thoughts- when we listen to music-which often leads to more positive effects toward mental health.4

Listening to and performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion, and reward.  Two recent studies—one in the United States and the other in Japan—found that music doesn’t just help us retrieve stored memories, it also helps us to store new memories.  In both studies, healthy elderly people scored better on tests of memory and reasoning after they had completed several weekly classes in which they did moderate physical exercise to musical accompaniment.5

Music’s positive effects on the mind

Music and learning

Doctors at John Hopkins recommend that you listen to music to stimulate your brain6. Scientists know that listening to music engages your brain — they can see the active areas light up in MRI scans.7

Music and your Brain

Music is a form of communication which is different from language. In humans, music stimulates emotions and elicits autonomic and physiological responses. It entrains neural activity and is inextricably linked to movement and dance.8

Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state9

Music can help you heal

A growing body of research confirm that music therapy can improve medical outcomes and quality of life in a number of ways.   Here’s a few of the studies and evidence based on the article on Harvard Health10 :

Easing anxiety and discomfort during procedures. In controlled clinical trials of people having colonoscopies, cardiac angiography, or knee surgery, those who listened to music before their procedure had less anxiety and less need for sedatives. People who listened to music in the operating room reported less discomfort during their procedure. And those who heard music in the recovery room used less opioid medication for pain.11

Restoring 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 melody12

Reducing side effects of cancer therapy. Listening to music reduces anxiety associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can also quell nausea and vomiting for patients receiving chemotherapy.13

Helping with physical therapy and rehabilitation. If you exercise to a playlist, you’ve probably noticed that music helps you stick to your routine and gives you more energy.

A 2011 analysis of several studies suggests that music therapy enhances people’s physical, psychological, cognitive, and emotional functioning during physical rehabilitation programs.

Aiding pain relief. Music therapy has been tested in a variety of patients, ranging from those with intense short-term pain to those with chronic pain from arthritis. Over all, music therapy decreases pain perception, reduces the amount of pain medication needed, helps relieve depression in pain patients, and gives them a sense of better control over their pain.

Improving quality of life for people with dementia. Because the ability to engage with music remains intact late into the disease process, music therapy can help to evoke memories, reduce agitation, assist communication, and improve physical coordination.

Breathing and Heart Rate

With alterations in brainwaves comes changes in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system14 such as breathing and heart rate can also be altered by the changes music can bring. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate, and an activation of the relaxation response15 among other things.
Music and music therapy can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, greatly promoting not only relaxation but health as well.16

State of Mind

Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay17 The uplifting sound of music and the positive or cathartic messages that can be conveyed in the lyrics can all be routes to a new mental state as well.

Music and premature babies

A number of studies have considered the effects of music listening on preterm infants and have shown stabilizing effects on heart and respiratory rates, reductions in the number of apnea and bradycardia events per day, improved resting-energy expenditure, improved feeding, enhanced weight gain, and more mature sleep patterns; most of these studies report a beneficial effect on at least one of these outcomes18

Music and depression

Researchers have concluded that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life. They also noted that no negative side effects were reported in any of the trials, making music a low-risk treatment19

Music & Parkinson’s Disease  (PD)

Music therapy – this is a therapy defined broadly by the American Music Therapy Association20 as “a treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music [through which] clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives.” Music therapy may have a role in helping those with PD.

One technique is known as rhythmic auditory cueing, in which rhythm is used to facilitate movement and improve gait. People with PD often note that moving or walking to a rhythm helps improve their movement and employing rhythm to help people with PD is frequently used by PD rehabilitation experts. 21

Need a bit of healing? Why not try Hypnotherapy ?

We can agree that music is soothing, calmer and beneficial to us, so next time you feel sad , low or need a bit of healing, listen to the music that feeds your soul … and see if you do indeed feel better!

Hypnotherapy Assisting the process of change & healing in your life. An all-natural and safe process, whereby individuals are guided into a deep state of relaxation with intense focus. Suggestion is then introduced to the powerful subconscious mind using relaxation, specific languages, and metaphors to generate change and healing.

You can use music in Hypnotherapy – this is based on personal choice.

As indicated Music can relax and improve your mood.  

Music can ease your conscious & make it easier to access your subconscious mind to aid the healing and relaxation needed during a hypnotherapy session.

Music during hypnotherapy acts as a kind of indirect suggestion to the client to relax and let go into deeper states of awareness.

Shifting from stress to rest & relaxation to aid healing

When we are stressed, our physiology is prompted to enter a state commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for the “fight or flight” response during any potential danger. 

When this happens, we are primed for action and feel alert and watchful. While there are benefits to this, the down-side is that we stop performing the important recuperative functions like rest & digestion and healing – the parasympathetic nervous system inhibits the body from overworking and restores the body to a calm and composed state and during a Hypnosis session trails have shown an effect on the regulation of the autonomic nervous system by increasing parasympathetic activity ( realxing your nervous system ). 

To really ‘relax’ and let go , we need to convince the mind that we are safe and that there is no need to be so alert and defensive.

During a hypnotherapy session we are aiding you to go deeper into relaxation to aid with the healing process, and once relaxed, in the safe environment created for you during a hypnotherapy session , you’re able to  into a more calmer and deeper state of relaxation ( easing the fight and flight system) and that is where true healing can happen.

Music, with its ability to instantly shift our moods and take us out of our stressed states, it is an excellent way of prompting us out of the stress response and into rest-and-digest.

Gentle ambient background music during hypnotherapy places you at ease and creates a blanket of sound that gives a sense of calm and privacy necessary for deep inner hypnotherapy work.

You have the option to do a silent Hypnotherapy session only guided by the voice of the practitioner or aided with music in the background to ease and allow the body to relax even further.

Read about EverJourney’s Hypnotherapy Service below

References:

References :

  1. Classic FM.com Here’s the world’s oldest instrument – the 50,000 year old Neanderthal Flute Link: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/flute/worlds-oldest-instrument-neanderthal-flute/#:~:text=The%20Neanderthal%20Flute%2C%20found%20in,the%20Idrijca%20River%20in%201995.
  2. Schäfer T, Sedlmeier P, Städtler C, Huron D. The psychological functions of music listening. Front Psychol. 2013;4:511. Published 2013 Aug 13. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00511 link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741536/
  3. Western Sydney University The ‘Music in the Brain’ Initiative – Thursday 1 October 2015 , link: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/marcs/news/music_in_the_brain_initiative  
  4. Open Minds Org , 5 positive effects music has on your mental health link: https://www.openminds.org.au/news/5-positive-effects-music-mental-health#:~:text=Researchers%20from%20the%20MARCS%20Institute,positive%20effects%20toward%20mental%20health.
  5. Hard Health Publishing Published: February, 2015 By Dr. Anne Fabiny, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/music-can-boost-memory-and-mood
  6. John Hopkins Medicine, health , keep your brain young with music, Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/keep-your-brain-young-with-music
  7. John Hopkins Medicine, health , keep your brain young with music, Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/keep-your-brain-young-with-music
  8. The conversation , Evolution : please don’t stop the music, link: https://theconversation.com/evolution-please-dont-stop-the-music-317
  9. Wang W-C. A study of the type and characteristics of relaxing music for college students. Proc Mtgs Acoust. 2014;21:035001. doi:10.1121/1.4902001.
  10. Harvard Health Publishing , How music can help you heal , Published Feb 2016 https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-music-can-help-you-heal#:~:text=Over%20all%2C%20music%20therapy%20decreases,life%20for%20people%20with%20dementia
  11. Song M, Li N, Zhang X, Shang Y, Yan L, Chu J, Sun R, Xu Y. Music for reducing the anxiety and pain of patients undergoing a biopsy: A meta-analysis. J Adv Nurs. 2018 May;74(5):1016-1029. doi: 10.1111/jan.13509. Epub 2017 Dec 21. PMID: 29171070. Link  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29171070/
  12. Schlaug G, Marchina S, Norton A. From Singing to Speaking: Why Singing May Lead to Recovery of Expressive Language Function in Patients with Broca’s Aphasia. Music Percept. 2008;25(4):315-323. doi:10.1525/MP.2008.25.4.315 Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010734/
  13. Canadian Cancer Society, Music Therapy https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/complementary-therapies/music-therapy/?region=on#:~:text=Some%20studies%20suggest%20that%20music,studies%20have%20shown%20this%20effect.
  14. Very Well Mind, What is the Autonomic Nervous System , link https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-autonomic-nervous-system-2794823
  15. Very Well Mind, What is the Autonomic Nervous System , link https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-relaxation-response-3145145
  16. De Witte M, Spruit A, Van Hooren S, Moonen X, Stams GJ. Effects of music interventions on stress-related outcomes: a systematic review and two meta-analysesHealth Psychol Rev. 2019;:1-31. doi:10.1080/17437199.2019.1627897
  17. Aalbers S, Fusar-Poli L, Freeman RE, et al. Music therapy for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;11(11):CD004517. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004517.pub3
  18. PNAS( Proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the United states of America) Music in premature infants enhances high-level cognitive brain networks, link: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/24/12103#:~:text=A%20number%20of%20studies%20have,gain%2C%20and%20more%20mature%20sleep
  19. Healthline, Does Music affect your mood, link: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-listening-to-music-lifts-or-reinforces-mood-051713#:~:text=After%20reviewing%2025%20trials%2C%20the,music%20a%20low%2Drisk%20treatment.
  20. American Music Therapy Association – What is music Therapy Link: https://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/
  21. ADPA ( American Parkinsons Disease Association) Music Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease Link: https://www.apdaparkinson.org/article/music-therapy-parkinsons-disease/

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