Music plays an important role in our lives. We listen to it in our cars, while we walk, at the gym, and sometimes during meals. For many of us, it’s an intergral part of our daily routines. We all know from our own experience how it affects our mood. Depending upon what type we are listening to, it can make us happy and upbeat, sad and reminiscent, or simply relaxed. It can keep us calm or rev us up, but can listening to music actually improve your health? There’s a growing body of reserach showing that music, alone or in combination with other therapies, can significantly improve various health conditions. It can improve medical outcomes and quality of life in a variety of ways. Music eases anxiety and discomfort during procedures. Music restores lost speech. It can help people who are recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury that has damaged the left-brain region responsible for speech. Beacause singing ability orginates 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. Listening to music reduces anxiety associated with the chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can also quell nausea and vomiting for patients receiving chemotherapy. 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. Pain results from multiple and complicated neurologic mechanisms. Music seems to impact pain by affecting key neurotransmitters. Listening to music often helps you focus on your breathing, slowing it down if you are in discomfort. It can also reduce your heart rate and might even lower blood pressure – probably by releasing tension in your muscels, including those in your blood vessels. Just has in running endorphins are released. As a result, music may offer pain relief through natural means, without the use of drugs(or at decreased amounts). And, given the concerns we now have about narcotics, any way we can reduce our dependence on pain killers is a worthwhile effort. We are only beginning to understand the impact it can have on your health – but what we know far is exciting. You might want to talk to your doctor or therapist about including music in your treatment regimen.

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