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Updated on: Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 09:57 AM IST

World Heart Day 2021: Music is the best therapy for healing

Listening to your favourite songs can do wonders for your system
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Music strongly impacts heart health, and you don’t require a scientific study to realise that an upbeat tune gets your blood pumping. Although, plenty of studies have measured a very certain physical effect. Calming classical music lowers heart rate, and pounding heavy metal increases heart rate and gets the heart and mind active. This effect is more prominent in musicians, but it affects one and all to some extent, even if you’re listening to melodies that you don’t particularly like or find pleasurable.

People are born with the knack to tell the difference between music and noise. Music can have an influential impact on emotions and mood. Depending on the type of song, it can help revitalise or calm you or even incite memories from the past. Isn’t it interesting how hearing a particular song can bring back a distinct memory or make you feel happy, calm, or refreshed?

Our brains have different paths for processing altered parts of harmonies consisting of pitch, melody, rhythm, and tempo. Listening to Adele or Lewis Capaldi in public is not an easy task. I’d rather cry in the comfort of my own home. According to researches, music may work by helping to even out the goings-on of the nervous system, the part that drives the “fight-or-flight” response when a person faces a nerve-racking situation.

A profound effect on both the emotions and the body can be dependent on music. Faster tunes can make you feel more vigilant and concentrate better, and upbeat songs can make you feel more expectant and positive about life. A slower tempo can put your mind to rest and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the day’s stress. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management. Hence it is suggested that compared to peaceful silence and pleasant music, faster melodies tend to increase heart rate and speed up our breathing pace more than slower ones and that unpleasant sounds are akin to a decrease in heart rate.

Dr Santosh Bangar, a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Global Hospital, Mumbai, says, “Music therapy plays a crucial part in the treatment of various mental and physical health problems. It is part of a holistic recovery of treatment in all age groups. Music therapy includes listening to music, playing an instrument or writing a song. It can be delivered as a 1:1 or in a group. Encouraging participation in music therapy is known to help people with stress, anger issues, low self-esteem, sleep problems.

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Also, it is known to improve their language ability, reading, learning, and promote memory in children. Music has a natural relaxing effect on the brain. Listening to music has been found to promote the release of the body’s ‘feel-good hormone’, endorphin. Major benefits are found in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, OCD and tackle aggression in various types of dementia. Apart from mental health problems, music therapy benefits chronic pain, blood pressure and diabetes.”

When you listen to music according to your taste, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine that has positive effects on mood. Since music can make us feel strong emotions, such as joy, sadness, or fearsome, it can move us. Have you heard about the “stress hormone”? Cortisol tends to escalate your blood pressure levels and blood sugar while decreasing your body’s capability to fight off illnesses.

The average heart rates were significantly higher after listening to rock music, despite that selection having the slowest tempo of the many genres. Heart rates also significantly decreased after listening to Mozart and increased dramatically after listening to the subjects’ favourite musical selections. On the other hand, introducing upbeat songs by artists like Måneskin into a fitness centre or athletic environment would enhance the performance of competitive athletes or even help motivate regular people to improve their health and exercise. This indicates that someone may be able to decrease or increase their heart rate by simply listening to music, interesting right?

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Music is not only present in our day-to-day lives but is also appearing more in the field of medicine. Health care workers spend a lot of money each year on sedatives given to patients. The introduction of slow and lower-beat compositions in medical settings could reduce the amount of narcotics needed, in doing so reducing the complete cost. Predictably, music doesn’t have such a major role compared to deep-rooted factors that impact heart health— like diet and exercise. If musical tunes can improve mood or heart function, they may offer yet another way for patients to improve both psychological and physical health.

However, it’s possible that music could help relieve symptoms and also help with pain and anxiety by improving the whole mood in general. It’s possible that music could also help with pain and anxiety by improving the whole mood in general. Next time you find yourself having a dull day, try listening to a few jazz or rock-n-roll numbers and see the magic! Although we know that music can’t actually clean up clogged arteries or cure heart disease, we know that it has the potential to put your body at ease in a serene manner.

(The writer is the Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Furtados School of Music)

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Published on: Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 07:00 AM IST
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