Music and Brain Health

Playing piano

A growing body of research suggests that music may be more than just entertaining but is also health-promoting and helps manage certain disease symptoms. Performing or listening to music activates the parts of the brain involved in sensation, movement, thinking, and emotions. By engaging our brains in this way, music can evoke emotional reactions and memories, promote social bonds, and even changes our brain’s physical structure.

Early research shows that music-based therapy has positive effects on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs. Music therapists are trained health professionals who provide music therapy in settings like hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Music therapy may involve activities like music listening, performance, and improvisation. People with anxiety, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis may benefit from music therapy.

Enjoying and creating music with others is also a wonderful way to increase social and community connections. When we sing or play music with others, we support brain health while having fun!

For more information on music and health research, visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, www.nccih.nih.gov.

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