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February 2016 Cancer Demystified- Music Therapy

Music is all around us.  Many of us listen to music to help improve our mood and energy level, while some of us may need it to help us go to sleep. Several listen to music during workouts or while driving. Did you know music could be so therapeutic?

Music has been used in medicine for thousands of years. It has been shown not only to help us deal with pain but also to reduce the perception of the intensity of our pain. Music also helps reduce anxiety, regulate blood pressure, and reduce stress in patients and caregivers.

As reported by the American Cancer Society,  researchers from Drexel University held 30 trials that included a total of 1,891 cancer patients using music therapy sessions with the patients listening to all types of relaxing music that included classical, jazz, folk, country and western, easy listening, religious and many others. The researchers were able to scientifically measure in these patients a significant improvement in anxiety and mood and measure small improvements in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and pain.

In addition to benefits to patients in treatment, music also has many other benefits. Listening to music while exercising can encourage the exerciser to go further, exercise longer, and improve intensity, all of which will increase endurance.  That steady beat gets the heart and body going!

Listening to music has also shown even more beneficial effects. For example, one study suggests listening to music with a regular rhythm, low pitches, and a tranquil melody improves sleep. Other benefits of listening to music regularly include reduction of stress levels, decrease in symptoms of depression, improvement of mood, and for students even better test scores!

Obviously, many types of music exist. Which should you listen to? First, pick music that you like and that makes you happy. Then, make music a part of your daily routine for a healthier 2016.

Posted In: Cancer Demystified by Dr. Kris Gast
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