By Pamela Shenk, CHt

 

Everyone enjoys listening to music and experts say it might even help you in ways you never imagined. Now there’s evidence that suggests music may even make you healthier. According to music therapists, certain tones can help to treat various medical ailments from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to high blood pressure.

 

It turns out that listening to music we like is more than just ear candy. Whether it’s hip-hop or classical, music can make us feel good, which is why music therapy is becoming increasingly integrated into medical care. This alternative therapy builds on traditional counseling practices to reduce discomfort and enhance the overall feeling of well-being.

 

So what exactly is music therapy? Music therapy is often used to help people who have disabilities or illness, but the healing benefits of music can be enjoyed by anyone. I know of one hospital that has someone playing a harp in the lobby. They also have people going to patients’ rooms from time to time, playing all different kinds of instruments.

 

Music therapists work in one on one or group settings to help people in a nonverbal way. There are many music therapists and they select whatever music they feel is best for their client. In fact, music therapists not only work in hospitals, often you can find them in schools and nursing homes.

 

Studies show that music can affect heart rate and breathing, as well as promote the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormones. Music can help with coordination, and even release negative feelings. Think about it. How many times have you been in your car and feeling a little down, when an old song is played on the radio? Before you know it, you’re singing as if you don’t have a care in the world. That’s because music can relieve stress, anxiety and bring back wonderful memories. On top of that by calming you, music can positively affect your blood pressure and vital signs.

 

And it doesn’t stop there. Because music can elicit different types of feelings, retailers can impact you by the type of music they have playing in the background. For example, restaurants play music with an upbeat sound, they don’t want you sitting too long, they would like you to eat and leave so someone else can have your table. Grocery stores and department stores will play a different type of music. They want you to be happy and linger so you buy more.