The Healing Power of Music

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, General Health, Mood & Memory
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Christmas has always been a tough time of year for me. It brings back memories of when I was a junior in medical school doing a rotation in an intensive care unit. One of the patients I treated near Christmas was a 13-year-old girl who was involved in a car accident.

Being a medical student, I was only eight or nine years older than her at the time. Despite our best efforts save her, after two weeks she passed—right on Christmas Eve and it was my job to tell the parents. I’ll never forget how heartbroken they were. The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT brought these memories flooding back.

Then, recently a friend sent a video to me of a holiday flash mob that took place at a mall called South Bay Galleria. Listening to it not only made me joyful during what’s become a very tough time of year for me, it also reminded me about the tremendous healing power of music.

Listening to music raises the positive vibrational energy of your body’s cells and balances your autonomic nervous system. Research also shows that music has a positive affect on the brain, helping you both mentally and physically. In fact, there have been cases of people with severe brain injuries who have improved tremendously through music therapy.

Plus, music heals the heart. A few years back, Michael Miller, Director of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center presented his research findings to the American Heart Association. What he found is that when people listen to music they like, their blood vessels dilate much as they do when we’re laughing or exercising.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes out of your busy holiday festivities to listen to this beautiful music or whatever music you connect with most fully given your faith and traditions.

From my home to yours, my wife Jan and I wish each of you a blessed holiday season—one filled with beautiful music, family, and friends.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite holiday music?

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