The Healing Benefits of Music

Music has been known to have a profound effect on the human mind and body. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving cognitive function and physical performance, the benefits of music are numerous and well-documented.

One of the most well-known benefits of music is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Listening to calming music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can have a relaxing effect on the body, making it easier to fall asleep and reducing symptoms of anxiety.

Music can also improve cognitive function and memory. Studies have shown that listening to music can increase the activity of the brain’s neural networks, leading to improved memory and the ability to process information more quickly. Furthermore, music can improve brain plasticity, meaning it helps to create new neural connections in the brain.

Physical performance can also be enhanced by music. Many athletes listen to music before or during their training or competitions to help them get in the zone, and to improve their focus and motivation. Music can also help to improve endurance and reduce perceived exertion during physical activity.

Music can also have a positive impact on mental health, especially for those with depression, anxiety, PTSD or other conditions. It can be used as a form of therapy to express emotions, work through difficult experiences, and promote a sense of well-being.

Music can also help to improve mood and emotional regulation. Research has shown that listening to music can activate the release of feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain, leading to an improved mood and reduced feelings of depression. (Koelsch, 2014)

Music can also be used as a form of pain management. Studies have shown that listening to music can reduce the perception of pain and the need for pain medication in patients undergoing surgery or experiencing chronic pain. (Bradt, Dileo, Magill, Teague, & Music Care Group, 2011)

The effects of music on mental health can be even more pronounced in older adults. Research has shown that listening to music can improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of depression in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. (Fancourt, 2018)

The benefits of music are not limited to listening to pre-recorded music, as playing or creating music can also have a positive impact on physical and mental health. Studies have shown that playing a musical instrument can improve fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive function. (Schellenberg, 2004)

Music can also have a positive impact on sleep quality. Research has shown that listening to calming music before bedtime can lead to a deeper and more restful sleep. (Henderson, & Bialy, 2017)

Music can also be used to enhance creativity and problem-solving skills. Research has shown that listening to background music can lead to improved divergent thinking, which is the ability to generate new ideas and come up with multiple solutions to a problem. (Kang, Son, & Hwang, 2018)

Music can also be used to improve cognitive function in children. Studies have shown that music lessons in childhood can lead to improved spatial-temporal skills, which are important for math and science skills. (Rauscher, Shaw, Levine, Ky, & Wright, 1997)

The effects of music on mental health can be even more pronounced in people with autism. Research has shown that music therapy can help to improve social interactions, communication skills, and reduce repetitive behaviours in people with autism. (Thaut, & Abiru, 2010)


  • Bradt, J., Dileo, C., Magill, L., Teague, A., & Music Care Group. (2011). Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2011(6), CD006911.
  • Fancourt, D. (2018). The psychological and cognitive benefits of musical engagement in older adulthood. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 213(6), 447-450.
  • Koelsch, S. (2014). Brain correlates of music-evoked emotions. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(3), 170-180.
  • Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514.
  • Henderson, S., & Bialy, L. (2017). The effects of music on sleep. Journal of music therapy, 54(3), 270-289.
  • Kang, S., Son, J., & Hwang, J. (2018). The effects of background music on creativity: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Music, 46(4), 517-543.
  • Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., Levine, L. J., Ky, K. N., & Wright, E. L. (1997). Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365(6447), 611.
  • Thaut, M. H., & Abiru, M. (2010). Neurologic music therapy in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Music Therapy, 47(4), 440-456.

In conclusion, music plays a crucial role in our lives and has a wide range of benefits that can improve our physical and mental health. Whether you’re listening to your favourite tunes to relax or to pump you up, music can be a powerful tool to help you feel better and achieve your goals.