The healing power of music

July 1, 2011

Can you imagine a world without music? Music is more than playing skillfully on an instrument. It can be the song of birds, the music of the ocean rushing to the shore or the babbling of a baby.

Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the body and mind, says Brenda Austin, M.S.N., RN, assistant professor in the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing in Round Rock. Music therapy is being used to help treat cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and autism. It also has been shown to benefit those suffering from depression, as an adjunct to pain management, and to reduce anxiety.

“Music therapy can help lower blood pressure, boost immunity, ease muscle tension and even help with stress management,” Austin says. “Depending upon the type of music you listen to, you can sharpen your concentration and become more alert. If you opt to listen to a softer piece, it can enhance relaxation and promote better sleep.”

In addition, music can lift our spirits, especially when we ourselves sing.

“How many times have you been emotionally and spiritually moved through music?” Austin says. “It could be a favorite hymn, a ‘golden oldie’ or ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Even the Bible has examples of how music can soothe.”

— Marketing & Communications