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Playing and listening to music benefits both mental and physical health.
The finding came from the first-large scale review of 400 research papers in the neurochemistry of music which found that music can improve the function of the body’s immune system and reduce levels of stress.
Listening to music was also shown to be more successful than prescription drugs in decreasing a person’s anxiety before undergoing surgery.
A report from 2011 indicated that anxiety in cancer patients can be reduced by music. Prof. Levitin explained:
“We’ve found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics. But even more importantly, we were able to document the neurochemical mechanisms by which music has an effect in four domains: management of mood, stress, immunity and as an aid to social bonding.”
Results showed that music increases an antibody that plays an important role in immunity of the mucous system, known as immunoglobulin A, as well as natural killer cell counts, the cells that attack germs and bacteria invading the body.
Listening to and playing music can also lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), according to Levitin and Dr. Mona Lisa Chanda, his postgraduate research fellow.
A study from 2011 suggested that thrilling music is similar to food and sex – more pleasure and anticipation means more dopamine.
Written by Sarah Glynn
Source: Medical News Today