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How does music affect your health?

July 6, 2009

Living Rhetorically in the Real World

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Baking in the Blogosphere

My friend and temporary roommate Caroline has started up her own food blog, called Baking with Caroline! Check it out for some tasty recipes.

Music for Health

This coming weekend, from July 9th to 12th, I’m taking four days off to get out of the city and enjoy the infamous Folk Fest, so I will be away from the blogging world from Wednesday to Monday. I’ve got some posts already pre-written so be sure to check back throughout the week! Some exciting things are in store, including a product review and giveaway, and an interview with a yoga instructor. You definitely do not want to miss out on those :)  I’m even going to take a break from wearing my pedometer while I’m at the campsite. That’s a big deal for me! There is a great lineup of musicians set for this year and it’s sure to be an excellent time.

My iPod has been acting up lately and so I have been without it for a month because the cables that I require for fixing it mysteriously disappeared around the time that my sister/roommate left for Montreal. I’m not the kind of person who absolutely needs to have music, but I do enjoy it very much and I have been missing it. Apart from simply enjoying music, I also really like what music does for the soul. Usually considered a form of entertainment, music is not often thought about as a way to improve our health.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know there was such thing as the Canadian Association for Music Therapy until yesterday. Just as exercise can be used as a treatment for depression and other ailments, music has the potential to inspire people and help them to heal. It serves to calm us and can change our mood drastically depending on how much we like or dislike what we’re hearing.

I really feel that with such an extensive list of things that music can allegedly heal or help to treat, it demonstrates that our mental limitations are often the real stumbling block. Physically we are capable of truly amazing feats, but we do not realize our full potential because mentally we are not in the right place. Music therapy, it would appear, has some affect on this. I’m sure, in fact, that we can all confirm this notion just by thinking about our own experiences with listening to music. Sometimes music is the reason that we’re able to push through a tough session of exercise. Or we need it to be able to fall asleep at night. Or listening to music helps us to concentrate when we’re working on a paper. Or perhaps you use music to escape from a mind that is over-crowded with thoughts. Whatever the case, music certainly has a place for all of us.

Do you think that there’s something to this notion of music therapy? Had you heard of this before? What kind of impact has music had on your life?

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27 comments

  1. I absolutely believe music is therapeutic! I have been able to get through some tough times by singing through them.


  2. Great post! Music is amazing– it can be calming OR energizing, depending on what you listen to. There’s a song for everything!


  3. I definitely believe that music has a powerful affect on one’s well being – it certainly helps me manage stress, feel happier, and more energized! :-)


  4. Yep, I’m totally in the “music is therapeutic” camp. Both from personal experience and from the impressive amount of research out there!


  5. Listening to good music can always put a smile on my face, and make me feel happy. I especially love the times when I get sent back to my childhood, or even when music remind me of good times in high school or college, I love that!


  6. Being a professional dancer and choreographer, I definitely have a strong connection with music as a form of self expression. I also have emotional ties to songs that I have listened to through various turning points in my life (both the good and the bad). Just hearing a particular song again can take me back to one of those times…..

    Working out is definitely not the same to me without a beat to do it to. Sagan, I don’t see how you’ve lived without your i-pod for a whole month!!!! ;)


  7. I’m going to play devil’s advocate (somewhat) and come down on the other side. I love music, but I get concerned sometimes that some people are never without their headphones and their music; I think it’s a pleasure to be alone with your thoughts or to enjoy the silence, and I hope the prevalence of mp3 players doesn’t lead people to lose their ability to appreciate and enjoy silence.


  8. I am a definite supporter of music therapy! I have seen wonderful ways it can be helpful to people!


  9. Annabel- singing solves all problems :)

    Chocolate-Covered Katie & VeggieGirl- I really like how it can be so helpful on just about any occasion.

    Crabby & Dr. J- you know it’s gotta work when you see it happening right in front of you.

    Gina- there are so many memories hidden in music!

    RickiRae- ooh, yes, I bet you’ve REALLY experienced music as therapy if it’s that big a part of your life.

    Lisa- I don’t mind not having music, it’s not having the OPTION of having music that’s been getting to me :) Although perhaps this has helped me to appreciate the silence a little more. But I do agree with you that it’s important to get away from noise once in a while.


  10. I love it when people are open to trying “alternative” therapies. I think there is a lot of good to be had in things like music!


  11. The FIRST thing I click on when I get to work is Pandora – I’m obsessed! I have different music preferences for different days. This morning (it being a Monday), it’s Kanye West. But then by Friday it might be Jack Johnson. :-)

    I definitely believe music has great power over our moods! There are so many songs that I can hear and it brings to mind a certain memory, whether it be good or bad. I can’t imagine my life without it!


  12. I’ve heard of music therapy before, and I definitely think it’s got something to it. I use music all the time to change my mood, to pump me up for a workout, or calm me down at the end of the day.


  13. Yes! At Florida State Univ. you can major in music therapy. One time, years ago, when one of my children was in the hospital with pnemonia, I was singing to her while the doctor was trying to put in an IV. It calmed her down quickly. The doctor looked at me and said, “Boy, I wish you had been here for the last one!”

    Music is powerful, both mentally and physically. I think music therapy is a wonderful field, and one not often heard of.


  14. Have fun at the folk fest Sagan!

    And as for music, I don’t think I can live without it. I know personally it has the power to heal, uplift and transform us immensely!

    It would actually be very beneficial for us to find the time to just sit each day for a few minutes in the company of our favorite calming music, that alone can do wonders for our stress levels.


  15. Have a lovely time at the folk fest – you’ll get some of your own music therapy!


  16. I used to listen to calming music to relax but have found silence as a better option these days. Upbeat tunes definitely makes me energized in an instant.

    I’ve heard of pregnant women listening to classical music as they claim it is good for the baby. Whether it’s true or not, I think it’s still a good thing. :)


  17. Edit: Upbeat tunes definitely MAKE me energized in an instant. (Sorry!)


  18. I definitely believe in music therapy. Music helps me in exercise and in other aspects of my life. It can energize me (Black-eyed Peas, Prince) or calm me (Mozart, Pachelbel), and it almost always serves as a doorway to my inner thoughts, dreams, desires, worries.

    My ipod shuffle is acting up, too. Maybe it’s something contagious? :)


  19. Charlotte- me too!

    Holly- I love Jack Johnson.

    Diane- that’s so cool. What an interesting thing to be able to study!

    Meg & Evita- it really helps to just relax and clear the head.

    Spring Girl- thanks! I will indeed.

    Mia- I think you’re right! It’s a good thing regardless :)

    Cammy- uh oh. iPod infection spreading across the continent? Eek.


  20. ahhh the path not taken.

    back in the day my plan was to go to OBERLIN and train to be a music therapist.


  21. My first yoga teacher (an R.N.) was interested in music therapy. I’ve forgotten most of what she said about it, though.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky


  22. We did an article on music therapy. The psychiatrist who wrote it believes it does help for some things.

    I like what you said: “… it demonstrates that our mental limitations are often the real stumbling block. Physically we are capable of truly amazing feats, but we do not realize our full potential because mentally we are not in the right place.” Interesting observation.

    If you’re interested, our article is here:
    http://www.familydoctormag.com/alternative-medicine/1310-does-music-therapy-work.html

    Leigh Ann Otte
    Managing Editor
    My Family Doctor magazine


  23. hmm, i don’t have much knowledge of music therapy, but i bet there’s something to it–my mood can definitely be affected by music!


  24. MizFit- so much fun how many plans we accumulate.

    Mary Anne- it would definitely be something that a yogi would be interested in!

    Leigh Ann- thanks for the link!

    ttfn300- and it’s surprising how MUCH we can be affected by it, isn’t it?


  25. I have definitely read many articles on music therapy in my undergrad days. It is thought to help with so many issues aside from just general mental-well being, i have read articles on it helping symptoms in schizophrenia, depression, memory in alzheimers, autism, and I could go on and on.

    I think music is wonderful but I also don’t think it is a “cure” or the one thing that will save someone. I think it can reach all humans and really impact our mood & outlook on life. I love me a good “rock out” session.


  26. I once read a study out of the University of Michigan that stated music could improve cardiovascular health. The average increase in blood flow was 27% over But, it had to be music that the person liked.

    Here’s a link to the study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uomm-jmm110608.php


  27. I meant the University of Maryland…



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