Melodies of hope and healing: The therapeutic impact of music on mind and body

By Umurungi Gisele
On 21 December 2023 at 12:19

Close your eyes for a second and try to picture a world where the enchanting ripples of symphonies carry beams of healing, hope and solace. Interesting, right?

You might be among people who fell in love with music, admiring every part of it, alphabet by alphabet, until you found yourself fully sunk. But it would be such a shame if you weren’t aware of your lover’s capability. Because in this world full of chaos, music emerges as an umbrella that blocks the storms of pain, sadness, etc.

Music is a language so universal and easy that it transcends linguistic, cultural and age barriers. I am sure you have noticed that at the beat of drums and the sound of guitars and pianos, grandfathers, mothers, teens and even toddlers move up as if something like magic boosted their mood.

If you’re a part of a big family, you might also have discerned how babies are sung lullabies so that they can sleep. It’s not only them, because even you, sometimes, put earphones in your ears, play the music, and close your eyes so that you can sleep peacefully. This is why most of us agreed with George Elliot when he said “life seems to go without effort when I am filled with music”.

Though all these explain the bliss we get through music, it doesn’t just stop by there. Music goes into the depths and blesses our lives from the physical aspect to the physiological aspect.

According to science, listening to music increases the blood flow to the brain region that generates and controls emotions. When our ears perceive music, this part of the brain lights up and releases chemicals like dopamine that trigger sensation of pleasure and wellbeing. The release of these chemicals might be the reason for the chills you feel when you hear a certain moving piece of music.

As you listen to the song multiple times, the brain might get used to it, then your body will release dopamine upon hearing just a few words of the song. This is why you always feel something strange when the first beat of your favorite song gets on the play. Interestingly though, music has an ability to change our moods even when we don’t recognize the lyrics or distinguish melodies.

Furthermore, neurologists have claimed that listening to music improves memories. In the past years, it was believed that the melody of a certain song can only improve the area of memory related to music. This is the reason why couples always play the kind of music played on their first date, so that they can enhance their memories of that day.

However it has been recently stated that music can also have a positive effect on the general memory. That being the fact, Catherine Loveday, a neuropsychologist, declared her theory that no other mental stimulus triggers the brain development as powerfully as music does.

Working memory and the center for speech and language are parts of the brain that benefit from playing a musical instrument. In this line, studies have shown that music can be used to treat diseases associated with memory loss like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

You might also have noticed that some women listen to music during labor or just any other thing that gives pain. The ability of music to distract is associated with its pain-relieving ability. When our brains are focused on the enchanting melody, we do not notice our cramps, aching back, etc.