Music's Ability to Support Health & Wellness
Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving!
Scientific research has shown that music has medicinal value, ranging from the reduction of anxiety to improving brain function in patients with degenerative brain diseases.
Music Wellness Playlists
According to medical experts at Johns Hopkins, listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.
What is "music wellness" and how do I try it for myself? Click the buttons below to access our YouTube playlists guide and to read our wellness playlists explanation!
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Are You Listening?
Boquete Health & Hospice recognizes the critical importance of the skill of listening. The BH&H New Volunteer Training Manual mentions this skill in the contexts of the volunteer job description, volunteer duties, emotional support and caring, and the manual even has an entire section on listening skills in the chapter on communication. But realistically, how often do we take listening for granted? How often do we intentionally set out to cultivate our listening skills?
In this article, the Magic of Music team takes a look at cultivating "deep listening" which has the capacity to not only enhance your enjoyment of music, but can also deepen your relationships and potentially transform your very consciousness! You'll find not only a discussion of exactly what we mean by "deep listening" but also links to music to help you practice deep listening, TED Talks on the impact of listening as a skill to strengthen human connections, and other resources to help you experiment with and cultivate your deep listening skills. Check out the article: "Are You Listening?"
Music for Relaxation & Stress-Relief
Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illnesses worldwide. Anxiety affects up to 28.8% of the population in Western countries, and its incidence appears to be increasing. When it comes to lowering anxiety, the stakes couldn't be higher. Stress either exacerbates or increases the risk of health issues like heart disease, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, chronic pain, depression, burnout, addictions, and others.
More troubling still, a recent paper out of Harvard and Stanford found health issues from job stress alone cause more deaths than diabetes, Alzheimer's, or influenza. High levels of stress are costly in monetary terms, too. Researchers found that stress-related health problems could be responsible for between 5 to 8 percent of annual healthcare costs in the U.S. which amounts to about $180 billion each year in healthcare expenses. Research shows that most of the time on a single occasion, music has a direct effect in reduction of stress and anxiety. Music has also been shown to beneficially affect stress-related physiological, as well as cognitive, and emotional processes.
Thus, the use of listening to music as an economic, non-invasive, and highly accepted intervention tool has received special interest recently in the management of stress and stress-related health issues. Check out the new article “Music for Relaxation and Stress Relief” by the Magic of Music Team for more details, recommendations, suggestions, and playlists that you can utilize to relax your way into better health!
Music's Impact on Sleep Disorders
Sleep, that deep peaceful, rejuvenating sleep we all want and need, often eludes many of us. Sleep disturbances are highly common in our society, with increased prevalence in aging. In the United States, approximately 50–70 million adults report sleep difficulties.
Sleep loss has been linked to a range of physical and mental health issues, with short-term effects evident after a single night of poor sleep. Short-term memory may be impaired and those affected report lower levels of happiness and more feelings of depression. If short term sleep loss is not remedied there is the risk that it may become chronic, a situation associated with serious health and well-being challenges.
Science tells us, of course, that music can be beneficial in achieving better health and well-being. In the “Magic of Music” Team’s latest article, we review what the research tells us about why music can improve the quality of sleep, and based on this research, we offer some suggestions and recommendations on how you can begin to improve the quality of your sleep using music, including new playlists from the Magic of Music team. So, take a look and try it out for yourself! zzzzz....
Music Plus Meditation
What happens when two popular stress-reduction, relaxation and wellness techniques are combined? Research indicates a synergistic effect. The Magic of Music Team takes a deep dive into music-based relaxation and stress-management using mindfulness meditation. The article includes a simple four-step method that you can use to try this out for yourself! Included are links to videos produced by the Magic of Music Team to guide your exploration of music-based meditation.
Shake Your Booty!
Wellness Benefits of Moving to the Music
2019, Boquete Belly Dancers and members of the public on stage during a performance of BCP's production of "Good Timey Music Revue". Photo credit to Mark Heyer.
Research by neuroscientists at Columbia University indicates that when we move in tune with the rhythm of music, the positive effects of the music are amplified. By synchronizing our movements with the beat, we are doubling the pleasure and the benefits. As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness, which can be made worse by conditions like Alzheimer's disease. A new study, published in the journal "Frontiers in Human Neuroscience", shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect. Dancing uniquely combines stimulation from physical and mental effort as well as social interaction. In addition, of the different types of physical exercise studied, it was only dancing that led to improved balance.
The Magic of Music Team summarizes the research on music and movement. And we provide information on how you can get involved to reap the wellness benefits, including information on local dancing opportunities that are currently available right here in Boquete. Even shy couch potatoes can boogie to the music and promote their own health and wellness!
Thriving Through The Rhythms of Life:
The Wellness Benefits of Drumming
Do you move to the beat of your own drum? If not, maybe you should! In this article the Magic of Music Team takes a look at the health and wellness benefits of drumming. No prior musical experience is required! And there are currently opportunities right here in Boquete to participate and reap the health and wellness benefits!
Check out "Thriving Through the Rhythms of Life: The Wellness Benefits of Drumming" for more information including links to music and playlists, information about local drumming events, and a brief review of the specific health and wellness benefits as revealed by recent scientific research.
Releasing the Mind:
The Wellness Benefits of Mantra
Did you know that singing a mantra to yourself has many benefits, even if you are not singing out loud? It can help to keep you rooted and mindful in the present moment, especially when one is out and about, away from one's usual sources of music. The Beatles' George Harrison stated that in his life he experienced "nothing higher" than the happiness he and John Lennon experienced from singing mantra. That's a powerful statement about the power of mantra from two men who were at the pinnacle of the music world with unparalleled success, fame, and fortune! And it certainly is intriguing that singing mantras made them happier than singing to thousands of adoring screaming fans! In this article the "Magic of Music" Team explores the world of mantra which can have positive effects on anxiety, stress, depression, burnout, anger and psychological distress, not to mention opening the doors to expanded states of consciousness!
Also be sure to check out the wide variety of Mantra playlists, from traditional to reggae and modern rock, from The Beatles to Gregorian Chant, to an album of mantras released last year by the Dalai Lama! You will also find two original recordings from your own "Magic of Music" Team!