On the way to work today, I was immersed in listening to an ongoing talkback debate, doing a hook turn in the morning traffic scrum and a bit listless from a case of the sniffles that turned into a full- blown cold overnight. Even though I was looking forward to getting stuck into a project at work, I also wished I’d gone back to bed with an industrial dose of Vicks VapoRub. So what got me through the first few struggle-street hours?
Just one word. Music.
I turned to my playlist for comfort. For fear of disconnecting with you over my music taste, I won’t reveal what I listened to, but I was damn grateful that music even existed at that point, and I marveled at how much it lifted my mood, and soothed me during the wobbly start to my day.
Music therapy isn’t anything new. It’s been around since the 1940’s when it became a clinical profession, after doctors and nurses noticed its positive effects on war veterans suffering emotional and physical trauma. Then it wasn’t until the 1990’s when advances in neuro-imaging technologies confirmed that musical activities had profound effects on the brain. The science was finally supported.
Since then, its been applied to assist with many medical conditions, such as reducing chronic pain, helping stroke patients regain speech, increase social engagement in children with autism and help patients with acquired brain injury or Parkinson’s disease improve their gait. It’s referred to as musical intervention.
So how does that help us?
Well, whether it’s a mid-morning slump or your rev-up tune for your afternoon run, music really helps us in a genuine way. It’s rich, enticing, compelling and has a list of genres as long as your arm, so it’s not short of diversity either. It’s also worth reminding ourselves the right track can pretty much help solve the world and its conundrums on any given day. So you’ll have to excuse me right now, because I just found a new song I feel like playing on repeat shuffle on my lunch break. Ahhh. Feel better already :)