Music's Outstanding Benefits to Your Health: Seven Reasons to
Listen to Some Music Now
Copyright 2005 Linda Slater Dowling
It's no secret that college students love music. Whether on your
way to class, heading to the gym or hanging out with friends,
music just makes us feel good. And depending on the style you
choose, it can do everything from revving up your energy for a
night on the town to calming your nerves before a big exam.
Music, though, is much more than a beat to tap your toes to or a
tune to sing along with. Increasing numbers of studies are
confirming that listening to music can have a real, positive
influence on your health. Here are seven of the most significant
health reasons to listen to some music today (as if you needed
even one more!).
1. Relieve stress. In one study, patients who had just been told
they needed surgery listened to a calming piece of music. Their
levels of the stress hormone cortisol were 50 percent lower than
patients who did not listen to any music, according to Roger W.
Wicke, Ph.D, instructor in Chinese herbology and director of the
Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute.
2. Increase energy. In some cases, such as during sports events
or other high-intensity exercise, high levels of cortisol are
desirable. Runners were able to produce high levels of cortisol
faster when they listened to energizing music with a fast pace.
3. Learn better. Bulgarian psychologist George Lozanov found
that students who listened to Baroque instrumental music (such
as J.S. Bach) while learning a foreign language had an increased
speed of learning and a greater degree of memory retention than
those who did not.
4. Become smarter (at least temporarily). Researcher Frances
Rauscher coined the term "The Mozart Effect." It refers to his
finding that study participants who listened to 10 minutes of
Mozart music performed 48 percent better on a paper-folding task
that was part of an intelligence test. The effect lasted about
5. Relax. Alfred Tomatis, a French ear specialist, found that
listening to Baroque or classical music (particularly string
instruments like the violin, viola and cello) induced brainwave
patterns in humans that correlate with relaxation of muscle
tension and calm attentiveness.
6. Sleep better. Adults with sleep problems who listened to 45
minutes of soft music at bedtime reported a 35 percent
improvement in their sleep, according to a study published in
the February 2005 edition of The Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Not only did they sleep better and longer, but they also
reported less daytime dysfunction.
7. Protect your heart. A new study in the journal Heart found
that listening to fast music sped up participants' circulation
and breathing rates while slower music induced calm and led to a
fall in heart rate. When the music was paused, the participants'
signals of arousal (breathing rates, etc.) fell below where they
had been at the start of the study, which researchers say is
helpful in protecting against heart disease and stroke.
Want to Know More?
If music and health is a topic that interests you, there are
over 70 colleges and universities approved by the American Music
Therapy Association (AMTA) to offer degrees in professional
According to the AMTA, "Music therapy is an established health
care profession that uses music to address physical, emotional,
cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages." They
say a music therapist can help a person to:
Promote wellness Manage stress Alleviate pain Express feelings
Enhance memory Improve communication Promote physical