Friday, November 4, 2011

Music: The New Tylenol

Did you know that listening to music can actually help reduce pain and speed up the healing process? Several studies have been done over the years proving that music can be very beneficial to our body's immune system. Pain isn't only a physical sensation, but a mental and emotional one as well. Physical pain is only felt after nerves in our body send a message to our brain that something isn't right. If we can control how our brain reacts to these signals, it is possible to minimize some of the physical pain we feel. Listening to music is one possible way to do this.

One of the effects that scientists believe music can have on controlling pain is that it causes a distraction. Music that suits your tastes is far more effective at reducing pain than music that you don't particularly enjoy. And what's more, if the music has certain tones and lyrics that express contentment, no matter what genre it is, it can reduce pain.

So how does it work? Well, when we listen to music, different neurotransmitters are activated in our brains. The activation of these naturally chemicals may have be able to disrupt the pain cycle, which is: feelings of initial pain, increased stress, more pain induced by heightened stress, increased stress because of greater pain, etc. Music can break into the system and reduce the stress levels, which can then reduce the amount of pain you feel and keep it from perpetuating. Music can also reduce stress in the brain's limbic system—the part of the brain that is inherent in all humans and takes over when it comes to anything related to our survival. If hormones in this system are at normal levels, which music can help induce, we can better control feelings of pain.

The key to effectively using music in pain control or healing therapy is to choose the right kind of music. The right kind of music is anything that elicits an emotional reaction from you. Every person is different in their music choices. Some people prefer fast and powerful music. Others prefer classical or easy listening. The musical key in which a song is written can also be a draw for some people, as well as the dissonance between notes. Oddly enough, something as simple as the interval between a set of notes can capture some people's attention.

Music can be a very powerful tool. When you come across a song that seems to speak to you and make you feel calm, make sure you always have easy access to this song. The next time you are in pain, whether physical or emotional, listen to your song or songs and focus on hearing the notes, words, and movement of the music. Your body will begin to de-stress, which will make the healing process faster as well as reduce the pain you might be feeling in the moment.

About the Author
Natalie Clive is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps students find online schools through whichcomplete their college degree, whether they are just looking for a certification or want to complete one of the online masters degree programs.