Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Music From A Public Health Perspective

Music is one way many relax or enjoy their leisure time. But, I was asking myself what are some points I can categorically attribute to music as a health benefit. There are benefits that can be garnered by young and old. The benefits I can share with you are:

-Music has anti-anxiety properties.
-Music, increases alertness and interest in surroundings, a raised heartbeat, a continued sucking reflex in babies.
-Music increases the body's production of the antibody immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells-the cells that attack invading viruses and boost the immune system's effectiveness.
-Music also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Music is a means of taking part in recreation. "Taking part in recreational activities, particularly outdoors, can improve your physical wellness. In fact, people who frequently take advantage of park activities have fewer doctor visits, lower body mass indexes and lower systolic blood pressures than those who don't," states Rachel Morgan in a LiveStrong Magazine.

I came across articles attesting to music having a healing therapy. In one study of premature babies (preemies); alertness, sucking reflex, raised heartbeat and restful sleep were gauged when music was played and when it was not. During the playing of music, there was an increased alertness and interest in surroundings, a raised heartbeat, a continued sucking reflex which meant that feeding would continue for such babies and the babies' alertness was high throughout the study. This study, was conducted by researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center's Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine conducted the study, which included 272 premature babies 32 weeks gestation or older in 11 mid-Atlantic NICUs. They examined the effects of three types of music: a lullaby selected and sung by the baby's parents; an "ocean disc," a round instrument, invented by the Remo drum company, that mimics the sounds of the womb; and a gato box, a drum-like instrument used to simulate two-tone heartbeat rhythms. The two instruments were played live by certified music therapists, who matched their music to the babies' breathing and heart rhythms. The researchers found that the gato box, the Remo ocean disc and singing all slowed a baby's heart rate, although singing was the most effective. Singing also increased the amount of time babies stayed quietly alert, and sucking behavior improved most with the gato box, while the ocean disc enhanced sleep.  "The music therapy also lowered the parents' stress," says Joanne Loewy, the study's lead author, director of the Armstrong center and co-editor of the journal Music and Medicine. Researchers from McGill University in montreal, found that listening to and playing music increase the body's production of the antibody immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells — the cells that attack invading viruses and boost the immune system's effectiveness. Music also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The testimony by David Binanay where music helped him heal from a psychosis, raises an interesting series of questions. Can music help heal us? What role does music play in our health and happiness? Can music be a form of medicine?

Music, is used in such places like Boston Children's Hospital, where the idea of using music to help patients as young as premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit has taken off in the last decade.

There are many examples where music is increasingly becoming central to therapy. So, go on take some time and listen to that beat doing the rounds. Or hum a tune even if it is off tune. The body will not judge you in the strict America-has-Idols way.


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