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The philosopher Plato once said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." Music truly is food for the soul, but it also can nourish your body and mind. I remember as a child, my sister, Laura, would play the piano. As soon as her fingertips touched the keys I felt the energy shift within the house. She poured herself into every note, playing with such passion and love, touching our hearts, feeding our souls and lifting our spirits.

Music has been used as a tool for healing for thousands of years. Native Americans and many indigenous people through out our world have used music and chanting during healing ceremonies. The ancient Egyptians used music to ease stress, reduce pain, and increase social values. Ronald Regan once said, “ Life is one grand sweet song, so start the music. “

 How Music Benefits Our Health

Emotional Benefits

 Music is the invisible cheerleader, the understanding best friend, the shoulder to cry on, or the thing that gets you pumped up for the big game. It has an incredible way to lift our mood by supporting us when we may need it the most. It can be very beneficial for you to take music time outs throughout our day. If you are looking for a boost of energy, a quick tempo song played in a major key will help you feel happy. While music in a slow tempo in a minor key, will encourage feelings of relaxation. [1]

 Improves Sleep

 Some of the most common things to interfere with sleep are stress and anxiety.  Since music has the ability to affect both in a positive way, research has shown music can be a calming alternative for a sleep aid. Music provides a soothing distraction to your brain, therefore allowing the nervous system to calm down. As a result, your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing begin to wind down allowing yourself a more restful sleep. 

 Boost your Immune System

 The next time you are not feeling well, you may want to turn up the music. Dr. Mike Miller, a cardiologist measured the effects of music on our cardiovascular system. Using high-tech imaging he was able to measure blood vessel size before and after the music was played. He discovered that if a person enjoys the music the blood vessel would open up, and the opposite would occur if the participant did not enjoy the music. The same effect occurs in our body when we have a significant amount of stress. Unfortunately, stress lowers your immune system by secreting the hormone cortisol.

In addition to this, researchers observed participants had an increase in white blood cells, known as the "natural killer cells," whose job it is to attack bacteria, infected cells, and cancerous cells.

 Music Can Help You Loose Weight

 When you sit down to a meal there is a multitude of senses going on. Taste is the most obvious sense when sitting down to a meal, but in fact, all of your senses are stimulated while eating. A Johns Hopkins study found that music has the ability to influence the speed with which we eat. Slow music slows us down. Test subjects listening to slow music ate three mouthfuls of food per minute. Those eating to a fast beat of music consumed five mouthfuls of dinner.

 Music during your workouts can increase your motivation and improve your performance especially if you match the tempo to your workout. Music can make you work harder without realizing it. It offers a welcomed distraction from the discomfort of physical exertion and helps you forget about how much time you have left in boot camp.

  

Quick tips on how to implement music into your life

 1.) Start your day off with music. This will help add a little pep into your step

 2.) Listen to music and sing along to and from work. This will be a nice distraction from the stress that a commute can bring.

 3.) Have music time outs throughout the day. This allows your mind and body to reconnect and regroup, helping you to be more productive in your accomplishments. 

 4.) Have your music preprogrammed so that you do not have to muddle with your device.

 

 Sources

1.) http://cogweb.ucla.edu/ep/Music_Leutwyler_01.html

 2) http://www.medicaldaily.com/scientific-literature-shows-music-can-boost-immune-system-and-reduce-pain-244824

 3) http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/05/11/music.heart/index.html?iref=24hours

 4) J Adv Nurs. 2008 May;62(3):327-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04602.x