This increased dopamine production helps relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, the part of the brain involved in mood and emotions. Music has a unique ability to help with pain management, as I discovered in my own experience with giving birth. In a 2013 study, sixty people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disease characterized by severe musculoskeletal pain, were randomly assigned to listen to music once a day for a four-week period.
What stimuli can be used as a basis of comparison to match music along the dimensions of excitement, attractiveness or lack thereof, engagement and mood induction? The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In a single-blind randomized controlled trial, Zippyshare researchers tested the effects of music on 18 Parkinson’s patients. Twelve music sessions per hour over a six-week period improved brain function. Listening to music helped improve verbal memory, language, and care in patients. A meta-analysis of eight studies also found that music therapy had positive effects on schizophrenia symptoms.
Listening to music is an exercise for the mind and as such helps to keep it in shape. Even people who already have some brain damage can partially or completely restore some memories, and neurological processes learned using very rhythmic sounds or music. Turning up your tunes can also increase the effort you exert during exercise. In one study, researchers found that cyclists worked harder and cycled a greater distance when listening to faster music compared to music at a slower pace. On the other hand, when the tempo of the songs increased by 10 percent, the men covered more miles during the same period, produced more power with each pedal stroke, and increased their pedal frequencies. One study found that music therapy was a safe and low-risk way to reduce depression and anxiety in patients suffering from neurological conditions such as dementia, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
In one study, 60 participants who listened to classical music had lower blood pressure and heart rate, while pop music showed no effect. At first glance, this story may seem like a very specific way of combining music and health, but it actually gives a good indication of the state of music therapy. There are many stories about music used to help Parkinson’s patients move, autistic children concentrate and learn, or multiple sclerosis patients reduce spasms. My guess is that these are individualized results that, while true, are difficult to extrapolate to the entire population.
For example, a meta-analysis showed that music therapy appears to have a statistically significant positive effect on postoperative pain, stress, and anxiety in children undergoing minimally invasive or invasive surgeries. In addition, music therapy has improved the quality of life of terminal cancer patients and reduced depressive symptoms in both cancer and non-cancer patients. Music can prevent anxiety-induced increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure and lower cortisol levels, all biological markers of stress.