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The effect of music on the psyche

It has long been recognised that music affects people psychologically and is considered to be food for the soul. Music is the easiest way to change your mood. As a result, people listen to music that matches their mood.

For years, scientists have been studying the effects of sound on the human brain. They are particularly interested in how different sounds affect a person’s mood, physical sensations and even memory.

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The psychology of music

In the utero, the brain begins to respond to sound between 16 and 18 weeks. Hearing develops faster than other senses in a newborn, even to the point of discriminating or ‘hearing’ certain sounds. This shows that people enjoy sound, and that certain regions of the human brain favour sound-triggered responses.

All these discoveries have led to a greater emphasis on understanding our fascination with sound, both as a component of modern civilisations and as a key to brain development. In addition, this particular discipline of neuroscience – typically associated with psychoacoustics – has led to changes in both therapy and self-care on a daily basis.


The effects of music on the human body

  • Improves memory and learning
  • Changes breathing rate and blood pressure
  • Helps relieve both physical and emotional pain
  • can motivate
  • Helps reduce the stress-inducing hormone cortisol
  • Can refresh our memories and even relieve pain
  • Helps us fall asleep.
  • Boosts motivation.
  • It lifts our mood.
  • can relax
  • can calm down

The reason for this is the appropriate harmony, the natural response to musical sounds, which acts on the limbic system where emotions are generated. This is also where the experience of pain originates and is reduced by the release of pain-controlling beta-endorphins, such as the sounds of gentle, calm or even upbeat music.

Musik, wirkung von musik, musiktherapie | dengem

Music therapy and the use of music in medicine

A 2018 study found that changes in brain activity (induced by listening to music) stimulate specific parts of the brain, which can aid rehabilitation. In addition, this healing can take many forms, such as making you feel less sad, helping you think more abstractly or giving you more motivation.

Today, music is used particularly in the medical field. Especially in psychiatric or therapeutic pain management, but also in stroke and Alzheimer’s rehabilitation. Research has shown that music therapy can be used with patients who are in a coma or who have lost the ability to speak as a result of traumatic brain injury, from the subjective experience of stress in chronic pain syndromes to the reward circuitry in addictions, psychomotor pathways in Parkinson’s disease, and even functional connectivity abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders.

Particularly in the treatment of psychosomatic illnesses, the emotional effects of music can lead to significant improvements. Music can help people talk to each other because it allows us to say what we think and feel without using words.

As a result, institutions are increasingly offering music therapy as a master’s degree programme. Researchers are investigating how music can help people communicate, especially with patients in distress.


What are the most common uses of music therapy?

Music therapy can facilitate self-discovery, self-expression and self-healing, among other things. Patients may continue to use this type of therapy long after they have completed their recommended treatment.

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While music therapy is most successful when combined with other disciplines such as exercise, counselling and social support, it can also be used separately without diminishing its effectiveness.

Typical benefits of music therapy include

  • Reducing anxiety and improving mood in the majority of patients.
  • Promotes healing through the release of certain hormones
  • Improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
  • Reduce depression and loneliness in the elderly
  • Improve psychiatric symptoms of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia
  • Aid in the rehabilitation of physically disabled patients
  • Help develop communication skills in children with developmental delays

At the heart of these techniques is a fundamental truth: the power of music to affect brain function provides therapists with a valuable and reproducible therapeutic tool. Music therapy has been incorporated into the majority of mental health services because of its ability to improve patients’ mood and create a calming environment, regardless of the patient’s health status.


The future of music therapy

Music can be used as a natural therapy for a variety of conditions, including severe physical or cognitive disabilities, regardless of age or mental health status. The University of Miami Health System recently created a music therapy programme as part of its approach to cancer treatment.

The goal is to use all components of music – composing, listening, playing and singing – to engage different parts of the brain in the way the patient prefers. As research in music psychology continues, it is likely that new strategies for integrating music into therapy will be discovered. As a result, the importance of music therapy will continue to grow.


Integrating music into daily life

While research has shown that music can improve mood and prevent depression, why not be selective about the music you listen to?

Instead of listening to random music, be quiet and listen to no music at all.

The content of the unselective music you listen to, the elements that remind you of the past, can increase your stress and anxiety. Instead, listen to higher quality music.


Choose music that matches the feeling you want to have while listening.

The lyrics of a song reveal your emotions, such as anger, aggression, sadness and fear, through its structure, rhythm and tone. What you listen to stimulates your neural networks and pulse rate.

For example, listen to classical music while reading a book.

If you are sitting or lying down and doing nothing, listen to the sounds of water and birds. Close your eyes and dream.

Music calms the mind, controls the body’s energy and helps with pain management. It is also used to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders. Turn up the music and immerse yourself in this mysterious universe.




S. Gans.MD. (2023).What to Know About Music Therapy . verywellmind