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by Jennifer Cox


nless it is played at crazy decibels

, music can be a

positive influence on many aspects of a person’s

life. Not only is it used to help with stress relief

as a calming agent, it has also been used to encourage

healing (particularly after a surgery) and, more recently,

it has had positive effects on those who are suffering from

Alzheimer’s disease.

According to medical guru Dr. Oz, music has been used

in medicine for thousands of years. Ancient Greek phil-

osophers believed that music had a healing effect on the

body and soul. Singing and chanting have been a part of

Native American healing ceremonies and, in the Ottoman

Empire, mental illnesses were often treated withmusic. A

more formal approach to music therapy began after the

SecondWorldWar, when researchers observed that music

had a positive effect on emotionally disturbed veterans.

To date, there is evidence that music therapy can reduce

high blood pressure, depression and sleeplessness. In

Alzheimer’s patients, music therapy was shown to sig-

nificantly reduce anxiety and aggression. While there are

no claims that music therapy can directly cure diseases

such as cancer, medical professionals believe that music

can reduce certain symptoms, help with healing, improve

physical movement and enrich a patient’s overall quality

of life.

Listening to calming music (rather than loud, jarring

tunes, which can have the opposite effect on your demean-

our) enhances cognitive functions such as memory, con-

centration and reasoning skills; even better, it boosts the

immune system, lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscle

tension, regulates stress hormones, elevates mood and

increases endurance (Dr. Oz). Classical music and medi-

tation music were found to deliver the greatest health

benefits. On the other hand, irritating sounds can cause

stress and, therefore, negatively impact your health. The

composers who have been suggested to most effectively

improve your quality of life are Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi

and Scarlatti.

In fact, listening to music isn’t the only positive way in

which it can influence your life; learning to play a musical

instrument is also proven to strengthen memory, lower

stress levels and more. Singing can impact our mood

and have positive effects on our health as well. A study

by Swedish researchers published in the

Frontiers of


in 2013 determined that, when people sing

in unison, their heart rates actually synchronize. Singing

together essentially sends “relaxing waves through the

choir,” and the study notes a calming effect similar to

that of yoga, which benefits cardiovascular function (


Health Magazine


Music can even encourage other healthy lifestyle ways – it

can promote an active lifestyle (in that music can help

us with jogging, yoga and more). It can help people who

suffer from insomnia to sleep better, too.

Music is used from the time we are born to calm and

soothe (want a lullaby, anyone?), so it should come as

no surprise to learn that music can be a valuable thing

to integrate into our everyday lives, particularly as we

get older. Whether it be picking up a new instrument or

playing one with which you’re already familiar, listening

to classical music or your favourite tunes, or singing (even

if it’s in the shower)…it’s time to let the rhythmmove you

(in a positive way).






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