How music can promote our health

Your mood and the way that you are feeling mentally have a great deal to do with your health.  Sad moods can lead to depression, angry moods can lead to high blood pressure and anxious moods can lead to anxiety.  

A few weeks ago, I talked in one of my posts about how nature is a form of therapy.  Research has also shown that music has a profound effect on your mind and body. 

Have you ever listened to a song to find that your mood has changed since before you turned the tune on?  This is because your brain waves sync to the beats.  Thus, slower beats cause a more calming and tranquil state while faster beats cause a more motivated or excited mood.

Music therapy has become a growing field and I think it deserves some positive light because it serves a very important purpose.  It is the only kind of therapy that can come to you, at least typically anyway. If you want to talk to a shrink, you have to physically get ready and take yourself to their office.  If you are fighting depression, even a task as simple as getting out of bed and dressed to make an appointment can be difficult. 

The same goes for nature therapy.  Characteristically, to partake in nature therapy you join a group that is led by counselors and head out into the wilderness.  Not everyone enjoys hiking.

The reason why I believe music therapy is becoming so popular is because for many cancer patients, those who are hospitalized or for those who are in too much pain to walk, the therapy comes to them.  More recently, hospitals have used the powers of music to help cancer patients, pain management, rehabilitation and depression. 

The only arguments I could find against music therapy were those that claimed that the wrong types of music could cause the opposite…an emotional breakdown.  I think that claim is a little exaggerated myself.  The only way this could happen is if the patient’s moods are conflicted by listening to sad and boring music that they don’t like.

Spirit Journey is a favorite cd of mine that is composed and produced by Mohawk Artist, David R. Maracle. Maracle plays the native flute.

 Professionally speaking, music therapy is conducted by trained specialists who know better than to play sad and depressing, or boring songs for their patients.  Second, these specialists also know better than to mix up different beats (slow and then fast) on the same playlist. 

Music can also alter breathing and heart rate, which can counteract chronic-stress along with releasing tension in your muscles.  Research has also shown that music helps your mind set with certain activities.  This is not only true, but also very empowering if you think about it. 

When you are getting ready for a big game or a challenging workout you would listen to some really motivating music.  Likewise, if you were getting ready to concentrate on a task that requires concentration such as spinning pottery or drawing you might listen to more mellow tunes to set a more sedate mood for yourself. 

Makes you wonder what effect different types of genres could have on personality traits doesn’t it?

As a side note I wanted to bring up the fact that therapy can be very expensive.  For students, West Virginia University offers your first 12 sessions with a counselor free of

The Carruth Center located right across the street from Ogleby Hall.

charge at the Carruth Center.  No need to feel rushed through your sessions though, after your 12 sessions are up the counselor can apply to continue offering you free sessions.

There is also a really great video on Youtube that doesn’t allow embedding.  I wanted to show it though because it is about music therapy in our own WVU hospitals.


About tonicekada

I am a junior print journalism major at West Virginia University. I have two minors in Italian and fitness.
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