Before my dad passed away, he started every day by singing the song "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" from the musical Oklahoma. He loved to greet the day with a song, and it started his day off on a wonderfully positive note. We always believed this morning tradition had a huge impact on the way my dad saw the world. He always had a smile on his face and made everyone around him smile. Now new research suggests singing and music do indeed have as big of an impact on your health. In fact, it's so powerful, it could be called a nutrient for your soul.
In the study, researchers followed 44 people (10 men, 34 women) who were all over the age of 60. They wanted to find out if singing helped the seniors alleviate stress, prevent depression, and avoid cardiovascular disease. To measure the impact of singing, the researchers started by evaluating the participants' oral condition and ability to swallow, as this is a key health factor for preventing aspiration pneumonia (a major cause of death in the elderly). They also evaluated their mental health (using a questionnaire) and immunity (using blood and saliva tests). They took these measurements before and after having the participants sing.
Amazingly, simply singing a song had a dramatic impact on the participants' health. Their saliva level increased, but the amount of cortisol (a salivary stress marker) decreased. As you may know, too much cortisol can wreak havoc on your body. But that's not all. According to the researchers: "The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores for feeling refreshed, comfortable, pleasurable, light-hearted, relieved, and relaxed; the tension and confusion subscale score; and the total mood disturbance (TMD) score of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) all showed improvements." These results are similar to results I've seen using supplements, especially for building immunity.
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One of the researcher's comments that made me smile was that the singing had these effects "regardless of whether or not the subjects liked singing." I smiled because that eliminates a huge excuse people would use for not singing. So whether you love to sing or not — and whether you sound good or not — add daily singing to your health regimen.
I also recommend listening to music designed to promote health and not music that can be detrimental to your health. For instance, music that's sad can lead to depression. And music that talks about violence or promotes aggressive thoughts can increase your cortisol levels.
If you're not sure which music actually promotes health, there are CDs available that contain music that research has proven to have health benefits. WholeTones
are music CDs with music that has infused "healing frequencies" into it. These frequencies are proven to bring beneficial effects on your body and your brain. They even have a wonderful Christmas CD with some of your favorite Christmas songs infused with the same frequencies. You'll love how you feel after listening to these CDs.
Your insider for better health,