Like we need another reason to love music but heck, here’s one more; it’s now been proven by some madcap scientists that music can heal us physically and mentally. That’s right you guys, we now have evidence to prove that our beloved obsession is not just the ultimate therapeutic chill-pill but the ultimate natural painkiller too.
So, how do the sweet sounds of Angus and Julia Stone and head-banging goodness of Violent Soho mess with your body and mind? Put simply in absolutely no scientific terms whatsoever, music makes you move.
Your favourite tunes can be more than a way to have fun. Research has proven music heals both physical and mental injuries to help patients recover faster.
Now, that doesn’t sound very ground breaking, but it is and it’s changing the way we treat physical pain and mental illnesses. That’s because by ‘you’ I mean what makes you human, specifically your emotions and blood cells.
In the same way that a catchy tune with a sweet riff makes you rip up the d-floor, music also makes our emotions and blood cells break out a few dance moves of their own.
You see, when paired with anything from the dulcet tones of Montgomery to the earth-shattering sounds of My Bloody Valentine, your body starts buzzing like it’s in a crazy mosh pit, which leads to all sorts of health benefits.
We’ve all heard how listening to classical music can make us smarter, but there’s now heaps more data showing that music has many more mind-bending health benefits.
Most recently, there’s been evidence proving that our favourite tunes have the ability to reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and make us feel top-notch. This evidence has led to a new kid on the therapeutic block who goes by the moniker Music Therapy, which is helping to heal us in a whole new way.
For any sceptics out there, allow science to explain. A recent US study took a bunch of kids who were in hospital for surgery and added music therapy to their post-op recoveries.
After their operations, the kids were divided into three groups: Group A listened to their favourite tunes, Group B listened to audiobooks and Group C threw on some noise-cancelling headphones so they could twiddle their thumbs in silence. Awesomely, the music listeners recorded a pain reduction equivalent to taking a Panadol.
How did this happen? Well, the researchers found that listening to your favourite music can actually block out distractions, including the insane agony you may feel after an operation. And, by drowning out your aches and pains, your body can then get on with recovering and do so much faster.
All of the music listening kids checked out of hospital much faster than the rest thanks to music’s powerful healing abilities.
But, it gets better you guys. Another study conducted in Australia took a bunch of teenagers and adults and did some psychological music-messing tests. The researchers asked the participants to think about memories that made them really angry before giving them the option to blast out 10 minutes of tunes or sit in 10 minutes of silence. Amazingly, the researchers found that the participants who listened to music experienced an instant mood change from angry to happy.
What’s also cool is that this study found it doesn’t matter which music genre the participants chose, their stress, hostility and irritability levels dropped while their happiness, love and inspiration levels shot through the roof regardless of whether they played Belle and Sebastian or AC/DC.
This means that even the metalheads who opted for the emotionally-charged sounds of Northlane still experienced all the positive psychological effects, despite the aggressive lyrics. What’s more, these positive psychological effects were likened to receiving a big warm hug.
How the heck does music do it? Well, for starters, music makes our brain release that feel good vibing chemical called dopamine. As a result of this release, our central nervous system starts working great guns for our emotions, perception and movement. Likewise, listening to music works wonders for our cardiovascular system.
Music relaxes and opens up our blood vessels which slows our heart rate to a steady pace. In this way, music improves breathing, lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscle tension and improves cardiac output. This, in turn, reduces pain, anxiety and depression and makes us feel fucking amazing.
So, there you have it, Music Therapy is a legit thing and our tunes have been scientifically proven to heal us physically and mentally. Though us music lovers have always known that listening to our fav beats makes us feel damn good, we now have the scientific evidence to back it up!
It’s good to know that our obsession with music is a healthy one as it’s now not only the ultimate therapeutic chill-pill but also the ultimate natural painkiller, providing lots of amazing health benefits.
So, next time you’ve had a downright shitty day, are stressing like crazy, or maybe even come out of surgery and are in a world of pain, hit play on your favourite tunes for instant therapeutic relief.