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The Health Benefits of Music

September 2022

Karen Ensle EdD, RDN, FAND, CFCS
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County

Did you know music can be beneficial to your health? Research has shown that when music is played, it elevates mood and can reduce a person's heart rate and lower blood pressure. Music can boost the brain's production of the hormone dopamine with many benefits. Here is more information on the health benefits of music.

It's heart healthy. Research has shown that blood flows more easily when music is played. It can also reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase serotonin and endorphin levels in the blood.

It elevates mood. Music can boost the brain's production of the hormone dopamine. This increased dopamine production helps relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in mood and emotions.

It reduces stress. Research has found that listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers.

It relieves symptoms of depression. When you're feeling down in the dumps, music can help pick you up - much like exercise.

It stimulates memories. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease or dementia, but music therapy has been shown to relieve some of its symptoms. Music therapy can relax an agitated patient, improve the mood of the person and help to encourage communication in patients.

It manages pain. By reducing stress levels and providing a strong competing stimulus to the pain signals that enter the brain, music therapy can assist in pain management.

It eases pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine.

It helps people eat less. Playing soft music in the background (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately a person may consume less food in one sitting.

It increases workout endurance. Listening to those top workout tracks on your phone or iPod can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise workout session.

Taking small steps to include music in your life has multiple benefits. Studies on listening to music continues to indicate that it can improve your personal well-being, as well as, the well-being of a loved one. Music can improve mood, decrease pain and anxiety, and facilitate opportunities for emotional expression.

Research continues to suggest that music can benefit our physical and mental health in numerous ways. Music therapy is used by hospice and palliative care board-certified music therapists to enhance conventional treatment for a variety of illnesses and disease processes from anxiety to depression. It may improve the management of pain and enhancement of functioning of older adults after degenerative neurologic disorders. Music has many health benefits and scientific studies continue to show its benefits.