Four Therapeutic Benefits of Music

Fuel your soul with a holistic health approach to promoting wellness.

Every time your breathing quickens, your heart rate increases, or you feel a shiver down your spine when listening to music, your body is undergoing a physiological response. This response is automatic, unlearned, and instinctive. Music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function by modifying brain waves.

brain reaction music

The brain is no different than any organ, in that when it is exercised, it becomes sharper, stronger and more useful.

Stronger and faster rhythms make people more alert, while slower music can help people meditate and relax. Because of this innate ability, music has been utilized in a number of therapies.

music therapy, guitar, SoulFuel

West Virginia University launched the state’s first degree program in music therapy, a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy.

Therapeutic Benefits of Music

Music has the ability to heal in a manner that’s outside of the box. It helps people in physical, mental, emotional, and social ways. Here are just some of the therapeutic benefits of music:

  1. Music has potential to change the brain and affect the way it works. The same areas of your brain that manage emotions and mood manage the different components of music, like meter, rhythm, and pitch, giving music easy access to our emotional systems. Many people use music in a therapeutic way—as a way to provide emotional release or to conjure up emotions. Music can motivate you, relax you, or change your perception. Research shows that study participants who listen to more upbeat music experienced happier perceptions of life. This may be due to chemical changes your brain experiences while listening to music. Music releases dopamine in our brains, a natural antidepressant, and can give a feeling of a euphoric high.


  1. Music is second only to smell for its ability to stimulate our memory. The inherent structure and emotional pull of music makes it an easy tool for teaching concepts, ideas, and information. Music makes it not only easier to learn, but also easier to later recall.
  1. The ability of rhythm to ease pain has been noted among patients in cancer wards and nursing homes, and it can even counter painful menstrual cramps or other daily aches. It is believed that music is helpful in managing pain either as a distraction, where the mind creates images in response to the music, or as a means to more actively control breaths.

4. Music touches us across our lifespan and in all walks of life, regardless of our age or ability level. Music unites us in a social experience. Our ancestors bonded and passed on their stories and knowledge through song. We continue to do this today; many of our music experiences are shared with a group, whether playing in band or an elementary music class, listening to jazz at a restaurant, or singing in church choir. The social aspects of music may help to reduce loneliness or to enhance a spiritual connection.


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