From life’s earliest moments to its final stages, music can help us be healthier and happier. It can soothe and invigorate, improve mental health, and even help someone stay alive.
“There is a great appreciation for the value that music can provide that is non-pharmacological and non-invasive,” said Daniel Tague, assistant professor and director of music therapy at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “As music therapists, we are also very invested in the therapeutic process.
Nancy Uscher, dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said growing research shows that the arts, “in addition to bringing you joy and satisfaction, can truly be engaged for a social value, and health is a big part of that.
Many scientific studies have highlighted the power of music. To name just a few examples: it can promote brain development in infants born prematurely, reduce stress and boost the immune system, relieve pain, improve workouts and help treat people with Alzheimer’s disease. One study even suggested that good music could help us eat less fast food.
But you don’t need a stack of medical journals, an appointment with a specialist, or a complicated prescription to put music to work for better health. Try these five sound ideas to polish your life.
Create an upbeat playlistWhether it’s a workout, gardening, or a marathon, the music you enjoy with a brisk tempo can pass the time, distract from feelings of fatigue, and even increase the intensity as you adapt. your effort to the beat.
“Everyone is different,” Tague said. “It is difficult to give general advice. Just choose something you like.
Create a fast-paced playlistThe right music can also tone things down, reduce stress, prepare for sleep, or just change the general mood.
“I’ve performed in prisons and hospitals,” said Uscher, a concert violist who has performed around the world. “You see how music can affect people, even those in distress, and improve their lives.”
Tague said soothing music can be even more effective “when you combine it with other relaxation methods, such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, or imagery.”
Don’t just listen – play“The flip side is active music making,” Tague said. “Whether it’s playing the piano, picking up a guitar, joining a choir or a community drumming circle, it can really help people, especially older people who need social interaction.”
By the way, says Uscher, it’s never too late. “I taught people who had never played an instrument before,” she says. “They can progress very quickly because they are so focused.”
Don’t be put off by the pandemicThe isolation and depression many people have endured in the age of COVID-19 is all the more reason to incorporate music into life, Tague said.
“All of these things can be addressed with music,” he said. “We do a lot of music therapy now through telehealth. It is not necessary to go all the way to a clinic, and it is very successful.
And if people are staying home, Tague said, “you can bring family or caregivers into the music experience, and now people are much more familiar with using Zoom and other apps. C t is an evolving new frontier, and in some ways it can be better.
Review “Stayin’ Alive”Don’t use music just for your own health. The rhythm of the Bee Gees hit made famous in the movie “Saturday Night Fever” is the ideal rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute for chest compressions when administering hands-only CPR. In fact, a whole host of songs that match that cadence have been compiled into life-saving CPR playlists on popular streaming services.
So if you hum now while you learn to push hard and fast in the center of the chest, you’ll be able to realize the song title in a real heart emergency.