NEW YORK ( Ivanhoe Newswire) - What's your favorite song? What artist gets you pumped up? Who do you listen to when you fall asleep? From Nicki Minaj to Mozart, new research shows the music you love could impact your health.
New science is proving music can relieve anxiety, increase memory, energize your body, organize your brain, improve your mood and help you fight off stress, insomnia, pain, depression and even addiction.
"We're trying to put some science behind music and show people how they can use it to call up the frame of mind they want for very specific situations on a daily basis," psychologist Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D. told Ivanhoe.
"Music can influence your behavior, your thinking, your emotions," Galina Mindlin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University told Ivanhoe.
The authors of the book, "Your Playlist Can Change Your Life" say science proves that like sex, drugs or really good food, music causes the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that's key to addiction and motivation. Once a person can figure out which songs help to release dopamine, they can control it and use it to their advantage.
"It's affecting your brain waves and your blood chemistry," Dr. Cardillo explained.
Using music to affect your life starts with creating a playlist. First, pick songs you like a lot. Figure out how many beats there are per minute. Norah Jone's ‘Turn Me On' has 56 beats, compared to Michael Jackson's ‘Beat It" at 139. The more beats, the more energizing the song.
"You can really rewire your brain," Dr. Mindlin said.
Once you have a certain song that works at a certain time, ingrain that song into your memory. Play it when you need it. Then make a playlist that's task oriented: one for driving, one for jogging, one for meditation, one for stressful situations, one for work.
"If you do it over and over again, your mind will automatically bring up that mindset for that particular task," Dr. Cardillo said.
Kevin Hall uses music therapy to help him get to sleep. He's had insomnia since he was 13 years old.
"One day I went to bed at nine o'clock and I laid there and laid there and just stared at my ceiling," Kevin told Ivanhoe.
After incorporating a soothing playlist into his life, Kevin was sleeping for eight hours a night. It took him three weeks, with five minute sessions each day.
"It's to the point where I don't need the song anymore. I have it recorded in my brain. Now so when I need it, I can just start playing it in my head," Kevin said.
As for improving memory, they say to choose a song from your distant past. That will put your brain into remembering mode and prepare your mind to begin memorizing your notes or presentation. When you need to recall what you learned, play the song beforehand and you'll be able to remember it quicker.
THE "MOZART EFFECT":Frances Rauscher researched whether or not music had any effect on people's spatio-temporal reasoning abilities by having groups listen to 10 minutes of Mozart's "Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major" and then having them complete a paper folding task. The results showed that listening to the music increased scores by 48% compared to control groups, but the effects lasted only about 10 minutes and music not as highly structured as Mozart's did not have the same effects. This was deemed the "Mozart Effect" and demonstrated how music and sound can affect intelligence as well as other things in humans, positively and negatively.
MUSIC & HEALTH: Music has also shown to have an effect on people's health in several different ways. For one, music can help in recovery. Melodic intonation therapy, which is speaking in a strongly musical manner, has shown to promote recovery from aphasia in stroke patients who had failed to recover spontaneously after a prolonged period, and the same Mozart song used in Rauscher's research proved to reduce seizures in epileptic patients by 65% compared to silence. It can also reduce depression symptoms in home-bound elderly people as well as reduce post-surgical stress and pain. (Source: www.rmhiherbal.org)
RELATIONSHIP TO SOUND: Humans have a complex relationship to sound. Some facts about how music plays a role in people's lives are outlined below:
Ancient flutes, one presumed to be the oldest musical instrument in the world, furthers the argument that music ability and interest were present even very early on in human history.
Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.
Fetuses begin to develop their auditory system between 17 and 19 weeks, and thanks to the scientist Sheila Woodward in the 1990s we know that not only can be heard inside the womb but fetuses heart rates become slightly elevated, showing a reaction and that they can actually hear the music.
Other studies have also found that when a pregnant women listens to music, even through headphones, the fetus can echo the mother's response to the quality of music. Their heart rates lower when the mother's listening to music she finds relaxing and increases when the mother listens to something she finds stressful. (Source: www.npr.org)
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