Music can minister to minds diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with its sweet oblivious antidote, cleanse the full bosom of all perilous stuff that weighs upon the heart. –William Shakespeare
From time immemorial we have known of the healing qualities of music. Ancient and traditional cultures have used, spoken and written about music in ritualistic, social and healing settings. In contemporary times, music is used and loved in the same way – perhaps even more so. Music therapy is a growing clinical intervention used in an increasing number of medical settings.
I’m sure we can all relate to the effects of music on our mood. Joy, energy, peace and even sadness? There is a lot of evidence that music not only elevates (or depresses) our mood, but in terms of positive health benefits it has been found that music can reduce stress and anxiety, and decrease pain. It’s ability to calm and relax the nervous system appears to impact positively on improving our immune functioning and assisting our memory. And there’s no doubt that up-tempo music is a great aid in exercising!
There is mounting evidence that Music Therapy is an excellent independent treatment for reducing depression, anxiety and chronic pain. One of the ways it does this is to reduce high blood pressure, reduce heart rate and decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Certainly this news is not good for the pharma companies, but if we can use music instead of drugs, allowing our bodies to relax and heal naturally without side-effects, why not?
What are your experiences of “music as medicine”? Drop me a comment – I’d love to hear from you!
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato.