Jan 18
Lady listening to headphones

Using Music to Stay Healthy

 

UW School of Pharmacy

By Donald Backus, PharmD Candidate

UW Pharmacy Cares Pharmacy Student

 

When’s the last time you listened to your favorite song?  Did you know that enjoyable music can trigger release of opioids in the brain that can reduce the feeling of pain?  This effect was found to have a positive effect that remained even after the music stopped.  It is important to listen to music that you know and like to help you get the most benefit. You may find it helps with both pain from recent injuries or pain that you have had for a while.

Looking for tips on getting to sleep?  A recent review of research has found that listening to 25 minutes to a full hour of music nightly in people who report sleep problems can be beneficial.  These study subjects who reported sleep problems were found to be more likely to report better sleep quality after music therapy.  The next time you are finding it hard to fall asleep the answer might be as easy as playing your favorite record.

Need a stress buster?  Too much stress can cause health problems in the long term and managing stress is a sound way to stay healthy!  One study using workers on sick leave showed that guided imagery and music can help people cope with their stress.  The study found that these workers could get back to their jobs quicker and improve their mood, sense of well-being, and physical distress.  The next time you are feeling sick you may try using some guided imaging and music therapy to help get you back on your feet.

Want to feel less anxious and depressed?  Positive effects of relaxation techniques like music, yoga and muscle relaxation can help to improve depression and anxiety among older adults.  Some of these relaxation techniques can last up to 6 months after treatment!  Try putting on some uplifting music when you start to feel your mood dive or you start to feel anxious.

Anyone you know need a brainpower boost? A study found that a therapist and those suffering from dementia both playing instruments together to communicate helped the people with dementia have less agitation, anxiety, irritability and night-time disturbances.  Another study found that music can help motivate you on tasks that are mentally stimulating or that require creativity.  Listening to some music before trying that puzzle may help you solve it faster.

And as always, talk to your health care provider about any medical problems you may have as music should be a complement to your provider’s advice.

References

Music reduces pain and increases functional mobility in fibromyalgia. Frontiers in psychology 2014

Music for insomnia in adults. Cochrane Database 2015

Coping with Work-Related Stress through Guided Imagery and Music (GIM): Randomized Controlled Trial. J Music Therapy 2015

Effects of relaxation interventions on depression and anxiety among older adults: a systematic review. Aging Ment Health 2015

Efficacy of music therapy in the treatment of behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of dementia. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2008