Music Benefits the Body and Soul

Musica Marin

John Thomas, a 60-year-old man, plays his guitar almost every day. He’s never had musical training. He can play “by ear.” He practices songs from well-known guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. To challenge himself, he also creates his tunes. Carla Jones, a 35-year-old, enjoys listening to music on a regular basis, favoring classical and jazz. In the evening, before she goes to bed, Carla listens to soothing meditation music to help her unwind from her day. Susan Gray, now 23, began piano lessons at the age of 7 and still plays piano for enjoyment. She’s also an avid runner. During her runs, she listens to upbeat music.

What do these three people have in common, besides their obvious love of music? All three are enhancing their overall health. They’re also changing their brain for the better.

Health Benefits Associated with Listening to Music

• Lowering blood pressure – Listening to relaxing music for a half hour every day can reduce high blood pressure (EMed Expert).

• Helping the heart – Some European researchers have found that listening to enjoyable music can help minimize the risk of heart disease (Bergland). Combining music with exercise, as Susan does, is a good way of strengthening her cardiovascular system.

• Supporting the immune system – This helps people avoid illnesses.

• Boosting energy – Listening to upbeat music helps fight fatigue (EMed Expert).

• Helping induce sleep – Carla has the right idea; researchers have found that listening to relaxing music before bed will enhance her sleep quality (EMed Expert).

• Improving mood as well as helping fight depression – Some researchers have found that music therapy, combined with other treatments, can alleviate symptoms of depression (Maratos, et al).

Brains Benefits Associated with Listening to Music

• Enhancing the brain’s plasticity – This is its ability to adapt to people’s experiences and behavior (Cole). Music helps build neural connections between brain cells, which helps the brain function well as we age. This is particularly the case of people who play musical instruments (Wan, Schlaug).

• Improving memory – Researchers have found evidence that people such as Susan, who had musical training as a child, develop better memories than those without musical training (EMed Expert).

• Improving learning skills – Researchers have linked music (playing an instrument or simply listening to music) to the enhancement of brain functions related to language, mathematics, and auditory skills (EMed Expert).

• Improving concentration and attention skills – This can increase productivity at work and home.

Based on the research conducted in the last 50 years, researchers would applaud John, Carla and Susan’s choice to listen to and play music. Research shows that the power of music goes beyond simply making life pleasurable. Music can strengthen our physical health and enhance our mental health. It can give our brains a boost for the long-term. What better reasons could we have for making music an integral part of our lives?