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Music has wonderful health benefits

Medicine of the Soul

Take Note! Music is Great for Your Health

Plato famously wrote, “Music is the medicine of the soul,” and he was onto something. Research shows music is reliably rated one of life’s greatest pleasures. For years, researchers have tried to measure the impact music has on quality of life. From the youngest to the oldest, music moves us. Kindergarten classrooms use music in learning activities and in play. Teachers also use it to enhance children’s moods when it’s time to clean up. Adults use similar strategies. We listen to music in difficult traffic, we turn on music when we’re cooking dinner, and we add background music to set the mood for a party. Recently, investigators in a study went even further and asked the question, “Can music impact mental health?”

To get a clear picture of music’s impact on mental health, researchers turned to the concept of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). As the study explains, HRQOL is a person or group’s “perceived physical and mental health over time.” Most people assume that both making music and listening to music add to well-being, but researchers wanted to know, “Should music be included in care and medical policies?” And if so, how do caregivers give a “dose” or “type” of music to a patient? Could music be used as a medical intervention like other quality of life interventions: exercise, sleep, or meditation, etc?

Investigators sorted through and studied the most pertinent research on music intervention. They analyzed 26 studies and 779 total participants from all over the world. The different studies included: music listening, music therapy, singing, and gospel music intervention. As a result, investigators learned that music intervention is associated with clinically significant changes in mental health-related quality of life. Also, when music is added to usual health interventions, it also changes the health-related quality of life for a range of different health conditions. Researchers could not determine a certain type of music or the amount of music that could be used as a “dosage,” but suggested more research be conducted in these areas.

Are you looking to enhance your mental health and quality of life? If so, the general principles of this research are worth applying to your daily life. You probably know the right music “dosage” to lift your spirits. You know the songs that bring a smile to your face. Are there ways you can add to the soundtrack of your day? Consider creating a playlist for hard or frustrating moments to help you manage your mental quality of life.
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Resources

Association of Music Interventions With Health-Related Quality of Life 

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