4 Health Benefits Of Music You Did Not Know

Music has proven itself an inevitable part of the human life. In Ghana, music is among the top patronised and recognised forms of art. Ghana can boast of several music genres from traditional music, to high life, afrobeats, hiplife, rap, among others.

Music is used at almost every event or gathering in Ghana. You probably use music in your daily activities, while you’re working, relaxing, biking or generally just living.

Besides the basic entertainment music provides to consumers, researchers have found that music plays a huge role in the health on well being of people. Below are five health benefits of music you probably never knew;

1 Music reduces stress and anxiety

Research has shown that listening to music — at least music with a slow tempo and low pitch, without lyrics or loud instrumentation — can calm people down, even during highly stressful or painful events. When you hear music to your liking, the brain actually releases a chemical called dopamine that has positive effects on mood. Listening to music you enjoy decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which counteracts the effects of chronic stress. This is an important finding since stress causes 60% of all our illnesses and disease. One study showed that if people actively participated in making music by playing various percussion instruments and singing, their immune system was boosted even more than if they passively listened. To stay calm and healthy during a stressful day, turn on the radio. Be sure to sing along and tap your feet to the beat to get the maximum healing benefit.

2. Music helps you eat less

Do you have issues with your eating habit? if you feel like you eat far beyond your “normal” food consumption, for reason such as panics, stress, emotional trauma, or other reasons, music can help you control your eating habits. Research has shown that softening the lighting and music while people ate led them to consume fewer calories and enjoy their meals more. If you’re looking for ways to curb your appetite, try dimming the lights and listening to soft music the next time you sit down for a meal, and you will be more aware of and mindful of fullness cues.

3. Music reduces pain

In a 2013 study, sixty people diagnosed with fibromyalgia — a disease characterized by severe musculoskeletal pain — were randomly assigned to listen to music once a day over a four-week period. In comparison to a control group, the group that listened to music experienced significant pain reduction and fewer depressive symptoms. In another recent study, patients undergoing spine surgery were instructed to listen to self-selected music on the evening before their surgery and until the second day after their surgery. When measured on pain levels post surgery, the group had significantly less pain than a control group who didn’t listen to music. In the words of legend Bob Marley, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

4. Music improves memory

It is common to see students use music while they study. For some people, they will be distracted, however, several people have argued and or testified that it is easier for them to recollect when they study with music. Music enjoyment elicits dopamine release, and dopamine release has been tied to motivation, which in turn is implicated in learning and memory.

In a study, adult students studying Hungarian were asked to speak, or speak in a rhythmic fashion, or sing phrases in the unfamiliar language. Afterwards, when asked to recall the foreign phrases, the singing group fared significantly better than the other two groups in recall accuracy.

In a 2008 experiment, stroke patients who were going through rehab were randomly assigned to listen daily either to self-selected music, to an audio book or to nothing (in addition to receiving their usual care). The patients were then tested on mood, quality of life and several cognitive measures at one week, three months and 6 months post-stroke. Results showed that those in the music group improved significantly more on verbal memory and focused attention than those in the other groups, and they were less depressed and confused than controls at each measuring point.

In a more recent study, caregivers and patients with dementia were randomly given 10 weeks of singing coaching, 10 weeks of music listening coaching, or neither. Afterwards, testing showed that singing and music listening improved mood, orientation and memory and, to a lesser extent, attention and executive functioning, as well as providing other benefits. Studies like these have encouraged a movement to incorporate music into patient care for dementia patients, in part promoted by organizations like Music and Memory.

Music unarguably plays a pivotal role in our lives. It is therefore not surprising that it is one of the most patronised, if not the most patronised art in Ghana, and musicians are among the most celebrated public figures.