MUSIC SERIES: How to Heal Your Body, Mind, and Soul (Part 2)
We talked about the power of music on the body in Part 1. Music can have massive effects on both physical and mental health.
But what causes these effects?
There's a complex sequence of events that happens every time you hear music.
Like any sound, music starts as sound waves. Your external ear collects and funnels the sound waves through the ear canal to your eardrum.
When the waves collide with the eardrum, they cause it to vibrate. The eardrum then transmits these vibrations down a long chain of tiny bones, where it eventually reaches the cochlea.
The cochlea contains 10,000–15,000 tiny hair cells that are surrounded by fluid.
Vibrations send waves of fluid through the cochlea, which move the hair cells. As they move, the cells release chemical neurotransmitters, activating the auditory nerve and sending electrical currents to the brain.
Keep in mind that this all happens in 0.05 seconds...
What happens next is where most health benefits are derived.
When your brain perceives just the right music, it can significantly boost dopamine synthesis.
Dopamine is a vital neurotransmitter, which is responsible for functions throughout the entire body.
- Helps regulate the release of insulin in your pancreas
- Helps protect the brain against neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer's
- Causes your small intestine and colon to move food through your digestive system
- Helps protect against depression, anxiety, and excessive stress
- Protects the mucus in the gastrointestinal tract lining and prevents peptic ulcers
- Helps protect against mood disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia
- Reduces pain and increases pain tolerance
- Increases wakefulness and energy
And so much more.
Listening to music you enjoy regularly can give you a dopamine boost and help you feel more youthful and energized while at the same time calm.
What kind of music is best for your health?
Since "good music" is subjective, there's no right or wrong answer. If you don't like a certain kind of music, it likely won't have a positive effect on your body, mind, and soul.
However, some types of music have been known to cause different reactions.
Slow and soft classical music can help reduce your blood pressure levels, while heavy metal may boost adrenaline and actually increase your blood pressure.1
Research also shows that different frequencies may have different effects as well. A study on rats shows that high frequencies (4k–16k Hz) can decrease blood pressure, while low frequencies (32–125 Hz) have no effect.2
Other studies show that specific composers can have unique effects on the mind. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, investigated the effects of classical music on cognitive function.
Mozart, in particular, had a profound effect on cognition — so much that students' IQs were raised by eight to nine points after just 10 minutes of listening.
Surprisingly, when testing other classical composers, no increase in cognition was detected. Scientists call this phenomenon the "Mozart effect."3
In the next part of this series, we're going to dive into the research on music and health and explore many of the health benefits that have been discovered so far. See you next week.
To your health,
President, Longevity Insider HQ