If you enjoy listening to music, you already know that turning on the tunes can help calm your nerves, reduce stress, pump you up during a workout, bring back fond memories, as well as prompt countless other emotions. Our favorite songs are like best friends. When I have music playing, I find myself singing with a big smile on my face, and feel a sense of calmness come over me. My dystonia symptoms also decrease, especially the pain.
According to Oliver Sacks, author of Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, “Music occupies more areas of our brain than language…humans are a musical species.” Music triggers activity in parts of the brain that release the "feel good" chemicals serotonin and dopamine, it activates areas that process emotions, and it plays a role in abstract thinking. Listening to music may also lower cortisol levels (stress hormones).
Research has found that music can be so physically and mentally beneficial that there is now an established health profession called Music Therapy. Music therapists address a vast number of issues including anxiety, stress management, movement disorders, chronic pain, respiration, physical rehabilitation, oncology treatment, diabetes, headaches, cardiac conditions, as well as communication and emotional expression.
I know many people with Dystonia, Parkinson's, Essential tremor, chronic pain, and other conditions who listen and/or dance to music to help manage their symptoms and improve their mood. I am happy to say that I am one of those who has a decrease in symptoms and an emotional lift when I sing and dance.
With all the electronic devices that we have available to us today, we can take music anywhere…so turn on the tunes and start singing and dancing, no matter how goofy you look or sound. It does the body good!
Our muscles respond to music even when the brain is in neutral.
Anger, loneliness, longing, sorrow, frustration, and even confusion respond positively to music and action.
Music is your best ally.
- Bonnie Prudden -