Music may be the key


Last updated 12/20/2007 at Noon

Michael Torke, a contemporary classical music composer, quipped, “Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?”

Music regulates our moods, lifts our spirits, gets our heart pumping, and articulates heartfelt emotions we could not normally express without sounding foolish.

If you wake up to a blah day and wonder how you will ever get through the morning, put on some music that has a quick beat and it will elevate your frame of mind.

I was so cranky on a recent Saturday that I was ready to evict my family from the house and give away the dogs, but then I found an old “Veggie Tales” CD that my children listened to when they were younger and put that on.

The pop beat, silly lyrics and warm and fuzzy memories each song evoked turned me around, and I was happier and more patient the rest of the day.

The right tunes can distract you from that creak in your knees when you exercise and keep you walking longer and faster than if you were chatting with a partner or not listening to anything at all.

A study in 1990 showed that music with a fast tempo allowed college-age walkers to walk farther and with less effort than those not listening to tunes.

Slower music did not lessen the exhaustion rate, but it did lower the heart rates of the exercisers while they walked.

Those who walked without music tired more quickly and reported more muscle soreness after the exercise.

Music can even give ease pain and anxiety. cites a 2006 review of medical records that shows “patients who listened to music after surgery tended to report less pain intensity and required slightly smaller doses of painkillers, compared with those who didn’t listen to music.”

The type of music made no difference.

Patients who receive open-heart surgery and then have to sit upright in a chair several hours later often report high levels of anxiety and fear as they move from the bed to the chair.

In 2002, invasive heart surgery patients who listened to slow, sedative music during their “chair time” reported significantly less anxiety, pain sensation and pain distress than patients in the control group.

Perhaps Nietzsche was onto something when he wrote that “without music life would be an error.”


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