7 Ways Music Affects the Body: Here’s How Science Says Sound Moves Us

February 21st, 2017 | Comments Off on 7 Ways Music Affects the Body: Here’s How Science Says Sound Moves Us | Posted in Lifestyle

shutterstock_499943026If the scope of research on the psychological and physiological impacts of music is any indication, much is known — and yet unknown — about how music affects the human mind and body. “By better understanding what music is and where it comes from, we may be able to better understand our motives, fears, desires, memories and even communication in the broadest sense,” writes neuroscientist, musician and author Daniel J. Levitin in his 2007 book This Is Your Brain on Music.

“Is music listening more along the lines of eating when you’re hungry, and thus satisfying an urge?” he asks in the book. “Or is it more like seeing a beautiful sunset or getting a backrub, which triggers sensory pleasure systems in the brain?” The truth is that the experience of listening to music wildly varies. Yet, in recent years, scientists have made huge advances in understanding how the human brain processes music and how sound affects not just the mind but the body at large.

Here are seven things science has made clear:

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5 Ways Music Improves Our Health

February 21st, 2017 | Comments Off on 5 Ways Music Improves Our Health | Posted in Lifestyle

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When I gave birth to my first-born, I listened to CDs of classical music in the hospital. I figured that music would help calm me and distract me from the pain.

You might use music to distract yourself from painful or stressful situations, too. Or perhaps you’ve listened to music while studying or working out, hoping to up your performance. Though you may sense that music helps you feel better somehow, only recently has science begun to figure out why that is.

Neuroscientists have discovered that listening to music heightens positive emotion through the reward centers of our brain, stimulating hits of dopamine that can make us feel good or even elated. Listening to music also lights up other areas of the brain — in fact, almost no brain center is left untouched — suggesting more widespread effects and potential uses for music.

Music’s neurological reach, and its historic role in healing and cultural rituals, has led researchers to consider ways music may improve our health and wellbeing. In particular, researchers have looked for applications in healthcare — for example, helping patients during post-surgery recovery or improving outcomes for people with Alzheimer’s. In some cases, music’s positive impacts on health have been more powerful than medication.

Here are five ways that music seems to impact our health and wellbeing.

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