How Music Affects Us

“I think music in itself is healing,” Billy Joel once said. “It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”  Most of us would agree with that music “bonds”; but music is also used to separate. Armies march and Politicians campaign with music; it brings people together even as they try to separate from others: either way, music “bonds”; even when it’s used to separate.

The real benefit of music is when it’s used for mental health. A 2011 study found that listening to music increases the amount of dopamine produced in the brain.  Dopamine is a mood-enhancing chemical, making it useful as a treatment for depression.

Research has found that the health benefits of music than just creating a certain “mood”:it can actually be therapeutic far beyond just mental health.

Reducing Pain and Anxiety.  When we are stressed and depressed music not only soothes anxiety, but can reduce pain for patients who had surgery. Playing music after treatment showed less pain and anxiety, and needed less pain medication.

Why does music appear to ease pain? Researchers believe listening to music triggers the release of opioids the body’s natural pain relievers in the brain.

A recent study also found that infants remained calmer far longer when music was played rather than just spoken to  even when it involved “baby talk”.