Everyone recognizes that music can affect the listener’s mood – that is why most people listen to music. Can music also either directly or through the mood affect the body? That is more debatable, but some therapists are convinced it can. The New York Times reports:
“Listening to finer music and attending concerts on a consistent basis makes your real age about four years younger,” Dr. Michael F. Roizen — the chief wellness officer of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, said recently. “Whether that’s due to stress relief or other properties, we see decreases in all-cause mortality, reflecting slower aging of arteries as well as cancer-related and environmental factors. Attending sports events like soccer or football offers none of these benefits.”
Therapists are experimenting with specially-composed music that is adopted ot different problems: depression, insomnia, anxiety, etc.
Stefan Koelsch, “a senior research fellow in neurocognition of music and language at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England,” has great hopes:
“Physiologically, it’s perfectly plausible that music would affect not only psychiatric conditions but also endocrine, autonomic and autoimmune disorders,” he said. “I can’t say music is a pill to abolish these diseases. But my vision is that we can come up with things to help. This work is so important. So many pills have horrible side effects, both physiological and psychological. Music has no side effects, or no harmful ones.”
One side effect is very useful. I have been surprised to hear baroque music playing at various train stations and other unlikely places. I then learned that researchers had discovered that punks hate baroque music: to a punk, Haydn is like a fingernail on a blackboard. To clear out the thugs, play Bach.