Music soothes a savage breast – and confers health benefits, too

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Listening to music, whether through headphones at home or during a live performance in a concert hall, can have a beneficial effect on your health, say researchers.

These benefits are not limited to listening to music alone, but also include other activities such as singing and playing an instrument.

Music has a positive impact on health because the sound waves that travel from the ear to the brain, stimulate brain cells in the cerebral cortex and other regions, enhancing their functioning.

5 ways music can benefit your health:

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Cognition

Listening to music, playing an instrument and singing have been found to enhance cognitive function. A study on the effect of music on the IQ test scores of college students at the University of California, Irvine, found that students who spent 10 minutes listening to a Mozart piano sonata had higher test scores.

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Anxiety, stress, mood

Music has been found to improve mood, and reduce anxiety and depression. One study found that relaxing music decreased the level of anxiety in patients awaiting surgery to a greater extent than medication (midazolam) given to calm them.

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Heart health

Music can also affect your heart health, as one study on 45 heart attack patients in the United States found. The patients experienced a drop in their heart rates and breathing rates after listening to classical music. These heart-related improvements lasted for at least an hour after the music stopped, reports Harvard Health.

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Athletic performance

Music can boost athletic performance, including your workout in the gym. A study carried out in the United Kingdom assessed the impact of music while participants walked on a treadmill. The researchers found that participants who listened to motivational music spent more time on the treadmill and said they felt better during their workout.

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Pain

When you are in pain, you might feel better after listening to music. One study that used music therapy for patients undergoing spine surgery, found that patients who listened to music had significantly less pain than those who didn’t.

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