THE BLOG

How Music Can Improve Your Health

30/11/2016 13:39

We all know that music can affect your mood. The 'Eye of the Tiger' could have you fist pumping for joy one moment and Celine Dion has rendered you to tears the next (obviously the song choices are subject to musical taste...).

But did you know that science has proven that music can alleviate back pain? Or improve memory loss? Or even increase libido?

"Listening to music can really benefit emotional wellbeing," says Rod Bradbury, owner of online radio station LoveSongs247, a station that plays music without the adverts for people who love music.

"Since I set up the station we've literally had people listen to it from every single country in the world - and that's without any promotion.

"People just love music, they love songs. It's a way of communicating with anyone and it transcends any language barrier."

Almost half of all adults suffer from back pain in the UK and it's the leading cause of disability worldwide. Music affects our blood pressure, heartbeat and brain function through our autonomic nervous system. When calm, relaxing rhythms are played; our blood pressure slows down which leads us to breath slower too. This reduces muscle tension in our neck shoulders, and back and relieves pain. A study from Austria's General Hospital of Salzburg split patients who had just undergone back surgery in to two groups. The first group had standard medical care and physiotherapy, while the other received musical therapy and visualisation classes. The musical group reported better pain relief than the regular physiotherapy group.

Music is also good for memory loss, and it's regularly used as part of therapy for those with Alzheimer's. Music can help people connect with their history because the part of the brain which processes melodies, is right next to the part that processes memory.

"That's probably the most common type of comments we get from our listeners. Because we play any type of music, from Elvis to Avicii, it always takes people back to different points in their lives, evoking vivid memories. One particular song can take you back to a party ten years ago that you'd previously forgotten about."

But can music create sweet harmony in people's love lives? A study conducted by Sonos and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin found that 67% of respondents said they have more sex while listening to music in their home. To be more precise, participants said they spend an extra 3 hours and 13 minutes per week together when they listened to music. The research may have been published 480 years after Henry VIII penned Greensleeves for Anne Boleyn, but he was definitely on to something (before he beheaded her).

Last, but certainly not least, music can actually save a life. Dr John Hafner, of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, trained his medical students to perform CPR chest compressions on mannequins in time to the BeeGees song, 'Stayin' Alive!' He reported in the Journal of Emergency Medicine that when the students sung the song to themselves as a 'musical memory aid', their mean compression rate increased, as did their technical ability and confidence in providing CPR.

Listen to Love Songs 247 here

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