Most massage therapists prefer having soothing music during sessions. This helps patients relax especially if they are needing assistance after experiencing the hustle and bustle of traffic and everyday life; providing a welcomed distraction from anxiety. Meanwhile, transitioning to activities that are more fast paced like exercise, music that is more upbeat and increase in tempo helps with the need to pick up the pace and make you feel motivated.
So why is that music seems to affect us so? Science has found some pretty good reasons as to why.
Improve your quality of sleep by listening to music at different points of the day.
Listening to music decreases stress, anxiety, and depression. There are many studies that provide supported evidence of increased hormone production like dopamine. Researchers are still looking into dopamine serving as a natural pain reliever.
We have all heard about the amazing cognitive benefits of listening to classical music as well as expecting mothers having their kiddos (who are still in utero of course) tend to do better cognitively than those that don’t. Same can be said for studying. Although, if you aren’t able to listen to anything while taking your test or exam this can be a little tricky because it is said that you are more likely to remember the material if you recreate the setting in which you studied while taking the exam.
Music can serve as a welcomed distraction to pain. A study was conducted in 2011 where researchers asked participants to listen to their own selection of music the night prior to back surgery and then again the day after while recovering. The results? Those that listened to music reported experiencing less pain than those that didn’t.
As we listen to music several things happen: one thing is our hearts try to match the tempo or beat of the music we are listening to (especially if the music is at a certain volume level). This can either instill the need to relax or keep up the motivation.
Another added benefit to the increase in dopamine (other than improved mood and increase in motivation) is improved memory. Apparently learning a song in a different language is easier to recall than sitting in a lecture or class.
Researchers at Wilkes University concluded that the students who listened to soothing music had notably increased IgA (an important antibody for our immune system that aids in the body’s first line of defense against disease).
Most of the studies in the articles that I read did note the important difference between the participants listening to something they selected verses just random noises (or material the individual did not select) and it’s pretty clear that the benefits lie in the former rather than the latter. So whether you love jamming to rap or the 80’s while working out or listening to an audiobook while taking a bath; the evidence is clear on how music positively affects our health and well being. Furthermore, the effects of singing and our mental health, including memory, is noteworthy.