For this weeks post I want to start explaining, one by one, the 14 music research areas introduced last week. I refer to this information often in most (medical related) areas of my music therapy clinical work.
First of all, I’ll start by reminding us that the two keys to us benefiting from the purposeful use of music are: 1) we must choose the music to engage in, or preferred music and 2) ideally we should listen to it often (and with no distractions) to develop a conditioned response, e.g., if we want to benefit from music listening for sleep, after we choose our slow music, listen to it often enough to where you associate that exact music with comfort and sleep.
RELATED MUSIC RESEARCH AREAS
Music has been clinically proven to:
- PROVIDE A POSITIVE DIVERSION FROM NEGATIVE EMOTIONS – NOT COMPATABLE WITH WORRY
First, an aspect of music that I see affect people often, no matter what the age, is that of music being a primary cognitive experience. What this means is that when we hear music we have no control over the feeling and emotions it gives us. All sensory experiences are like this. When we hear, see, smell, feel and taste things, again, we have no control over the feeling and emotions sensory experiences give us. For example… if we are in a mall and a fragrance that reminds us of our grandmother gets our attention, whether we want to think of our grandmother or not, we will think of her. We can not control the thoughts that come about due to the sensory experience. With this in mind, if you want to use music listening as a positive diversion from worry listen to your favorite music, with no distractions – a lot!
And second, to perceive anything (stressful thoughts, pain, etc.) we have to utilize many neural pathways. If we are utilizing many neural pathways to attend to, and perceive positive emotions from a favorite piece of music, we leave less neural pathways to perceive stress, pain or worry.
- ALLOW THE MIND AND BODY TO RELAX AND ACT AS A NON-ANALGESIC SLEEP AID (with no side effects)
First, non-analgesic means: not drug like.
Second, music has been clinically proven to induce a relaxation response, i.e., decreased stress hormone, lower blood pressure, slower brain wave activity, decreased heart rate, etc.
***Again, all this occurs when someone uses preferred music in a purposeful manner as described above.
And lastly, music used in this manner will produce no negative side effects.
- INCREASE THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF MEDICATIONS
First, for medication to benefit us it has to be properly absorbed. And for absorption to be maximized it has to stay in our system and/or gut the longest amount of time possible.
Did you ever experience or hear someone say, for example, “with the funeral last week I was so stress the everything went right through me…” When we are stressed out and our metabolism is in a heightened state our bodies do expel toxins faster (all medications are toxins) and digestions is sped up, ultimately not allowing medications to be fully absorbed. When all this happens, often times more medications are administered, allowing for more negative side effects, etc, etc, etc.
So, when we can be more relaxed, medications will stay in our system longer. When meds stay in our system longer more will be absorbed. When more is readily absorbed they become more effective. When they are more effective less medication is required. When less medication is given side effects are minimized and recovery time is sped up. It doesn’t matter what we do to relax, but music is a great way to do it.
In upcoming posts I will continue explaining the research items listed on the MT Research Sheet that I utilize.
***Of course there are many more research areas related to music therapy and health and wellness. I have gravitated towards these because they are useful with the MT populations
I have worked with over the years.