Let’s Sound Off About The Effects Of Music On Your Body

Woman Relaxing Listening To Music Wearing Headphones

Since the dawn of time, music has played a vital role in the everyday lives of cultures and communities across the globe. While there are plenty of examples of the importance of music and how it has helped shape the course of humanity, an increasing number of people have posed the question, “how does music affect me?”.

With a seemingly endless number of ways to enjoy our tunes – thanks to advancements in technology – you can now enjoy your favorite songs from anywhere and everywhere. What effects, if any, does sound and audio have on our bodies, our minds and our health? We’ll discuss these potential impacts below, so that you can be well-informed about the issue the next time you fire up your MP3 player.

The History of Sound

Various archaeological studies have suggested that music and the art of dance preceded the concept of language itself. This is important to understand; without spoken language, the role of music in societies would have served as an ulterior form of communication. Some of the functions that song and dance served during this time included the ability to introduce each other and convey emotion without the need for spoken language.

In many cultures throughout the world, the concepts of sound and medicine were tightly intertwined. From the Far East to Native American cultures, the sound and body were considered reliant upon one another for thousands of years. It was only in the 1700s that the concept of health and music therapy began to take on different roles: since then, music has been considered a form of entertainment and medicine began to take a more scientific approach. Did some cultures take the wrong path in separating these two concepts, though?

Music’s Reported Effects on the Brain

There is plenty of modern evidence to suggest that music plays an important role in language development and a healthy emotional state.

Oxford University has reported that music can immensely aid those who suffer from motor disorders, making it possible for those with disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome and Parkinson’s can drastically improve their ability to both understand and speak with the aid of song. Music therapy has also been shown to stimulate neural activity in patients with Alzheimer’s, helping these individuals recall past details and associating long-lost memories with the present.

When we examine cultures in the Far East and in Medieval Europe, the notion of frequency in song has also been a long-standing consideration.

Some people may have heard of the Solfeggio frequencies, which correspond with the more commonly-known concept of “do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do”. Buddhist monks have long used these exact frequencies in meditation, while European artisans and musicians believed that the connection between these frequencies and song was of divine origin. One thing is clear: many cultures from around the world have associated powerful connotations with these frequencies without input from or collaboration with one another.

How Does Music Affect My Body?

While the effects of music on brain development and recovery are clear, how does music affect our bodies at-large?

For starters, Harvard University has found that the role of classical music can aid recent victims of heart attacks and surgeries in their recoveries. In addition to this vital benefit, regular sessions with your favorite audio tracks correlate to an increased performance of your immune system, making it a great preventative measure for the common cold and other airborne illnesses.

In addition to these findings, music can help those who suffer from seizures; when Mozart music was played via piano for a trial group of seizure patients, most of them immediately began to suffer from fewer seizures. Forms of music therapy such as this are great, minimally-invasive ways to counter the negative effects that age and disease can have on our bodies.

The Short-term Effects of Music

Music has a tendency to lift our spirits and take us to a different world, and that is perhaps the most valuable short-term effect it provides. Whenever we are feeling down, we can plug in our earphones and enjoy some of our favorite tunes to feel better. The emotional release that music provides can be valuable in plenty of circumstances – those in which we already feel good and those in which we may be a bit down.

The release of endorphins during our favorite music sessions can also increase our motivation to exercise, which obviously can produce beneficial short-term and long-term health outcomes. With a recommended regimen of 30 minutes of exercise per day, music may be the key to fulfilling this oft-ignored mandate. The National Institutes of Health recommends the use of music while exercising to boost performance.

Our short-term memories are also dramatically improved through the use of music. While harsher, more intense forms of music can actually distract us and create false memories in retrospect, classical music and other, more soothing forms of music boost our ability to recall specific details and may even impact our ability to recall these instances over the long-term.

How Does Sound Impact Long-term Health?

Various studies have pointed out that classical music can play an important role in early childhood development, which is why so many people opt to listen to this genre while pregnant or with their newborns.

The effects are even more obvious for those who have learned how to play a musical instrument. One study by Northwestern University reported that those who play a musical instrument for at least four years will enjoy faster response times to speech and sound throughout their entire lives.

What This Means for You

The introduction of music at an early age in life can have a myriad number of positive effects on the human brain and body. Not only will most benefit from a better outlook on life and more enjoyment, but the health-related advantages are also numerous. Those who want to increase their ability to recall details, exercise more, stave off the aging process and be happy in general have a lot to benefit from if they incorporate music into their daily lives. The next time you fire up your MP3 player, remember that there’s a reason you enjoy music: it’s good for you!

ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer

skin cancer

Have you ever noticed a new, strange looking mole that has appeared on your body? How about a mole that has changed in shape or colour? What may have popped up in your mind is “oh my god, what if it is skin cancer”?! There are five simple rules for detecting cancerous moles.

A

Asymmetry – If you take a look at your mole and the shape is not even or symmetrical this could be a sign of a cancerous mole.

B

Border - If you notice an irregular border on your mole this could also be a bad sign. This includes borders that are broken and straying from a circular shape.

C

Colour - If you see that there are two or more different colourings to one mole this could be a sign of skin cancer. One example would be a mole that is light brown with a smaller black colour inside of it.

D

Diameter - If you have a mole that is 6mm or larger in diameter then you might have a problem.

E

Elevation - If there is any elevation to your mole this could be a sign of skin cancer, although there are many normal moles that have elevation also called an elevated nevus.

If you have one or more of the signs above in your mole, refer to your physician. It is also good to get a professional opinion even if your mole does not have any of the signs above.

Jarvis, C. (2009). Physical examination and health assessment. (1st Canadian Ed.). Toronto: Saunders Elsevier. Chapter 3: Assessment of the skin, hair, and nails (Page 280).

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Meteorite Hits Russia – Shatters Windows And Causes Bright Flash

There is an asteroid that’s going to be passing by Earth today and it just so happens a random meteor plummeted to Russia.

meteor

Apparently windows got blown out from this! Good thing there aren’t any recorded fatalities but still more than 500 are injured. Local residents and astronomers were taken by surprise because they didn’t expect this piece of rock to hit.

For the last 10 years there has been many programs dedicated to finding the objects whose trajectory lines up with our planet, but sometimes some whiz right by surprising everyone. There are lots of space agencies working to track meteors, comets and asteroids classified as Near-Earth Objects. NASA’s NEO program hopes to spot at least 90% of the estimated 1000 asteroids and comets larger than 1 kilometre on track to approach Earth.

The problem is that even if that upper 90% is spotted there are 10% that will fly by undetected. Here’s to hoping they don’t miss another one that breaches our atmosphere.

The asteroid that is expected to streak by Earth is known as Asteroid 2012 DA14 and has been followed for months now.

It is reported to be a complete coincidence that this asteroid is to pass by today and a rogue meteor flew by on the same day. “This is rare. There hasn’t been one like this in a long time,” says Randy Attwood, the senior editor of SpaceRef.ca.

Luckily even though meteor material rains down on our planet daily most of it is dust and happens in uninhabited areas.

“I suspect this one was the size of an SUV,” Attwood said. “It’s not huge, but as it hit the atmosphere going tens of kilometres a second, it created an enormous shock wave.” The meteor would have been travelling much faster than the speed of sound, Attwood says, so it created a sonic boom that caused windows to shatter.

It just happens to be that the last major meteor to hit a populated area was also in Russia in 1908. This meteor was called the “Tunguska event” and leveled trees across a 100 kilometre range without harming anyone. It was about 30-40 metres wideand considered to be the largest impact event in recorded history on Earth.

Astronomers will be analyzing  the composition of today’s meteor to learn more about it’s origins among other scientific research.

Check out the video:

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