To start, I found these wonderful tips from Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen. In an article posted at RealAge.com, they say that research proves that "listening to music bestows mind-body benefits":
1. Music improves your brain. It actually helps to boost memory and mental powers by firing up neurons in the brain!
2. Slow tunes lower blood pressure. Just 30 minutes per day breathing along to the beat of slow, soothing numbers can do the trick (think Celtic harp music, especially music from my Through the Mist CD!)
3. Music keeps your ears young. Did you know that older musicians don't usually experience the typical aging in the part of the brain (the auditory cortex) that often leads to hearing problems? This means that it's never too late to take up an instrument (like the Celtic harp!)
4. Music relieves stress. I'm sure we've all experienced this effect when we've listened to our favorite music. But there's scientific proof of this: Listening to music lowered heart rates by as much as 5 beats per minute in critically ill hospital patients hooked up to breathing machines. This helped them to heal by relieving their anxiety.
5. A good beat keeps you moving. Pick songs with a good beat to motivate you to exercise harder and longer.
Read more of this article at RealAge.com. And read and listen to NPR stories with more proof of the health benefits of music:
- In The Power of Music, Elena Mannes describes how music affects people and how it can take part in the role of health care.
- In Treating Stress and Speech Disorders of the Brain, hear how one musician uses music to help people heal.
- And Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks Observes the Mind through Music: how musicians play from memory, music's healing role for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients, and the relationship between music and math.
Here's hoping that one of your resolutions for 2012 is to immerse yourself in the health benefits of music!
Do you have your own stories about how music benefited your health and well-being? Please share them here.