Music & Emotions – Can Music Really Make You a Happier Person?

How many times have your turned to music to help you in good times or for comfort when you are feeling down?

Music is a universal influence. Only recently have scientists attempted to quantify how music affects us on an emotional level. Studies on the effects of melody and mind have shown that listening to and playing music can affect how our brains work and our bodies.

Even though music therapy has been around for many years, it seems like the healing power music has over both body and spirit is just beginning to be recognized. Since long time, therapists have advocated the use of music, both as a listening and studying instrument, to reduce anxiety and stress and relieve pain. As an aid for positive mood and emotional changes, music has been recommended.

Michael DeBakey, the 1966 surgeon who successfully implanted an artificial heart, has stated that creating and performing music encourages self-expression, self-gratification and gives pleasure to others. Increased research in medicine has shown that music has a healing power on patients Fakaza.

Music therapy can be used in hospitals and nursing homes to help patients feel better and heal quicker, according to doctors. Experts across the country have begun to use the new insights about music’s effects on the brain in treating patients.

Michael Thaut (researcher) and his colleagues analyzed how patients with stroke, cerebral palsy, or Parkinson’s disease who listened to music performed better than those who didn’t have music as therapy.

Others have discovered that drumming can affect the way our bodies work. According to USA Today’s 2001 article, Suzanne Hasner (chairwoman of Berklee College of Music’s music therapy section) says that even people with head injuries or dementia can retain their musical ability.

The article described the findings of an experiment that saw researchers from Mind-Body Wellness Center Meadville, Pa. track 111 patients suffering from cancer. They played drums for about 30 minutes per day. The patients showed stronger immune systems and more cancer-fighting cells.

Hasner states that rehearsed musical material is “deep in our long term memory.” “It is processed by the amygdala, which is the emotional part in the brain. Here you can remember the music from your wedding, the music of the first love, or the first dance. These things can be recalled even by people with progressive illnesses. It could be a window or a way to get them

The American Music Therapy Organization states that music therapy can help with “emotional intimacy” with caregivers and families, relaxation for all family members, and meaningful time spent in a positive, creative manner.

Scientists have made great progress in their investigation into the reasons why music can have such an effect. Robert Zatorre, McGill University, Montreal, and Dr. Anne Blood used positron emission imaging (or PET scans) to discover if music stimulated certain brain structures.

Blood and Zatorre had 10 musicians choose stirring music in their study. As they listened, the subjects received PET scans. Each sequence was repeated three additional times in an arbitrary order.

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