Blog

Helping the Heart Find its Rhythm

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Oct 8, 2020 7:51:43 PM

Music can bring about intense, measurable physiological changes. At Feed.fm, we talk a lot about music’s ability to get you through the tough parts of a workout through psychological and physiological stimulation. Because we are often focused on music’s impact on exercise, we tend to gravitate to its profound impact on endurance (music increases by 15%!) and perceived exertion (music decreases by 12%!). But we know that music also has the power to decrease arousal and bring heart rate, blood pressure and even body temperature down. For this post, I’ll be exploring the ability of music to down-regulate key body measurements and how it can help heal.

Music has been used as a relaxation tool for centuries, but we’re only recently seeing the impact through studies in academic settings. For example, a 2012 Chicago Medical School study found that music has beneficial effects in reducing blood pressure and heart rate in a variety of clinical settings, including pre-op and ICU. One of the true advantages of music in these settings is that there are zero side effects, which means anyone can take advantage of the positive impact.

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Topics: Music therapy, Music for wellness

How Music can help with Dementia

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Sep 16, 2020 5:22:42 PM

“[Music] brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”  Neurologist & Musicophilia author Oliver Sacks

For many of us, COVID-19 has complicated the already-challenging process of caring for aging parents and other loved ones. Shelter in place and physical distancing recommendations have introduced new obstacles, even as the current reality has accelerated infirmity amongst the elderly. While we’re not qualified to address the vast scope of these issues, a recent conversation with fellow music professional Kevin King reminded us of the scientifically proven healing qualities of music. Four years ago, his mother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (the same type Robin Williams had) and music is “the one thing that has kept them connected.”

We know that Kevin’s experience is not unique. For those who are also grappling with how to support loved ones with dementia or related health challenges, we’re sharing resources for tapping into music’s therapeutic benefits. First, it’s helpful to understand some of the major health-related findings about music and the brain:

  • A 2008 University of Helsinki study demonstrated that music enhances alertness and directly stimulates damaged areas of the brain after a stroke. Verbal memory and focused attention recovered significantly better in patients that listened to music, and they also had a more positive mood.
  • According to a 40-year retrospective of related research, music can deliver long-term physiological results, rewiring our brains in a process known as neuroplasticity. Neuroscientists offer the following shorthand for this re-wiring phenomenon: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
  • Alzheimers.net described that by pairing music with everyday activities, Alzheimer’s patients can develop a rhythm which helps them recall the memory of that activity, improving cognitive ability over time.
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Topics: Music therapy, Music for wellness

Music As Therapy: From Apollo in Ancient Greece to Hospital Rooms Today

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Jan 7, 2020 6:35:07 PM

Anecdotal instances of music being “therapeutic” can be pointed to by most people. In one way or another, music has impacted our lives - almost everyone we know has had moments where the right song at the right time has improved a mood, helped repair a relationship, or even uncovered an insight that helped shape our personalities.

Beyond these meaningful but non-scientific personal anecdotes, there is an extensive history of real scientific literature on music’s effectiveness in improving the quality of life for a host of conditions and illnesses: autism, dementia, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and even amongst cancer-stricken or terminally ill patients.

The term for this is music therapy, and it isn’t a hidden idea: in the last 5 years alone, more than 20,000 scientific papers studying or reviewing music therapy as a mode of treatment have been published by academics at institutions such as Johns Hopkins, the National Institutes of Health, and Harvard University.

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Topics: Music therapy, Music for wellness

Why You Haven’t Found Your Musical Soulmate (Blame Science)

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Sep 16, 2019 12:51:34 PM

At Feed.fm, we’ve published a plethora of content on how music can affect fitness outcomes. Music makes runners feel less tired while enabling them to run faster and more intensely; music can nearly double the amount of time people spend at the gym; music can help people set world records in major Olympic events. 

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Topics: Music as content, Music therapy

Music is Changing Behaviors & Re-Wiring Brains

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Oct 18, 2018 3:08:27 PM

“Music is an important part of our physical and emotional well-being, ever since we were babies in our mother’s womb listening to her heartbeat and breathing rhythms.” -- Franz Wendtner, Clinical Psychologist, University (General) Hospital Salzburg

It’s an intuitive, increasingly acknowledged fact that music is a powerful motivational tool. Perhaps you play music in the morning to help you wake up, enlist the radio when driving to help stay focused and alert, or listen to music during your workouts. Over the past half-century, countless studies have shown the positive correlation between music and activities as diverse as exercise and shoppingMusic’s ability to help us perform better and “stick it out” is a behavioral result.

What’s lesser known: music can also deliver long-term physiological results, re-wiring our brains in a process known as neuroplasticity. Neuroscientists offer the following shorthand for this re-wiring phenomenon: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Research has shown music’s ability to increase neuroplasticity, and there are many innovative, music-powered solutions to age-old medical problems that affect all of us.

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Topics: Fitness, Music therapy, Music for wellness

Music is the Drug of Choice

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Aug 23, 2018 5:48:24 PM

Every day we come across new evidence-based reasons to integrate music into our lives. At Feed.fm we’ve spent much of this year working closely with fitness companies to help them improve workouts with music. There is a great body (pun intended!) of work that illustrates the many ways music positively impacts physical exertion, a few key points here.  Much of this work is focused on athletes and healthy adults, but what about music’s impact on healing? Musical interventions can play a huge role in health care, from operation rooms to rehab centers to in-home recovery scenarios.

There is so much incredible science emerging around the positive impact of music on ailments and healing, so we decided to narrow it down to our top 5 favorites for now.

1) Music is better than drugs in reducing anxiety before surgery

In over 15 studies, researchers were able to prove a drop in cortisol (stress hormone) after listening to relaxing music. One study even compared patients who listened to music directly with patients who took a Valium. Believe it or not, music wins!

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Topics: Music therapy, Music for wellness