Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Music To Soothe The Soul


You just reached the end to what has to have been one of the worst days of your life and the stress of it all has you at your wits end!  You need something to go from frantic and frazzled to calm and relaxed.  But what do you do?  Since a quick trip to your favorite tropical island isn't exactly in order why not try music.  That's right, if you're like the rest of the 6+ billion people on this earth then you know the pure happiness that can come from the perfect song.  It makes your troubles just float away like they never existed and that's exactly what you need to put all those struggles behind you.


Health Benefits of Music

The health benefits of music are quite instinctual, believe it or not.  You may find it interesting that those notes of tranquility not only lead to health benefits in adults but have a profound impact on newborn babies not long after they say hello to our stress laden world.  One study actually showed this as it looked at the effects of music on newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) which is the farthest thing from the nurturing, stress free environment of a mother's arms.  One group of newborns received music stimulation consisting of lullabies and children's music along with routine auditory stimulation 3 times per day for an hour each time while the other group received no music or auditory stimulation.  The newborns that received the music stimulation had significantly reduced stress behaviors and a shorter length of stay in the NICU as well as a shorter overall hospital stay than the other newborns [1].  Music truly is another form of successful medical treatment for those in a stressful situation.

So what about adults?  What can music do for us?  Well, check out all of these health promoting benefits you're getting when you grab that Ipod of yours and start jammin' out.

-  Music has been shown to increase the release of dopamine in your brain which stimulates the "reward
   circuit" and brings you pleasure [2].  This is similar to the same pleasure that drug users experience
   when they get their "high" after using illicit drugs but you're getting your "high" while staying sober and
   skipping the health consequences of using harmful drugs.  How awesome is that?!
-  A decrease in depression and increase in sleep quality was seen in the elderly population who listen to
   just 30 minutes of their favorite music each week [3].
-  Music listening in patients with congestive heart failure showed a beneficial effect in reducing blood
   pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate along with relieving anxiety and even pain in these
   individuals [4].
-  Significant blood pressure reduction was seen in older adults after listening to relaxing music on a
   regular basis [5].
-  Music therapy has even been shown to help cancer patients during their course of treatment by
   promoting a better quality of life, helping them to better manage their stress, and alleviating physical
   pain and discomfort [6].
-  Feeling burnt out?  Music intervention programs are linked to significantly reducing burnout symptoms
   in as little as 5 weeks and they also lessen the symptoms of depression [7].

With all these health benefits it's hard not to want to include your favorite songs into your daily routine.  And if you're like me and exercising seems a bit of a chore then you'll find that music can also give you the boost of adrenalin you need to work up a sweat and even experience a bit of euphoria while doing so.  Reducing stress, getting rid of anxiety, saying goodbye to burnout and hello to a healthy heart are just right around the corner as you fire up your favorite song.  So what are you waiting for?  Push "play" now.

Sharing The Love of Music

If you're looking for some great songs to shoo away all those stress inducing hormones then look no further.  I asked friends, family members, and followers alike what songs they liked best to put a stressful day to rest and here's what they had to offer.  There's a lot of great variety so enjoy!










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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

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References:
1 Caine J. The effects of music on the selected stress behaviors, weight, caloric and formula intake, and length of hospital stay of premature and low birth weight neonates in a newborn intensive care unit. J Music Ther. 1991 Winter;28(4):180-92.
2 Salimpoor VN, Benovoy M, Larcher K, et al. Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nat Neurosci. 2011 Feb;14(2):257-62.
3 Chan MF, Chan EA, Mok E. Effects of music on depression and sleep quality in elderly people: A randomised controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2010 Jun-Aug;18(3-4):150-9.
4 Bradt J, Dileo C. Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Apr 15;(2):CD006577.
5 Tang HY, Harms V, Speck SM, et al. Effects of audio relaxation programs for blood pressure reduction in older adults. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009 Dec;8(5):329-36.
6 Richardson MM, Babiak-Vazquez AE, Frenkel MA. Music therapy in a comprehensive cancer center. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2008 Spring;6(2):76-81.
7 Brandes V, Terris DD, Fischer C, et al. Music programs designed to remedy burnout symptoms show significant effects after five weeks. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Jul;1169:422-5.

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