“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
― Hunter S. Thompson
In a recent FloraTV pannel discussion, Esther Sternberg, M.D. disscussed the connection bewteen mind and body and emotional health. During her talk, Sternberg mentions directly that stress does not “create” sickness but enhances it, asserting that the flue bug is not created when we are in a stressful state. However, when we are stressed the reprocussions and developments of the illness are enhanced. Sternberg went on to state that stress has been link to pre-mature ageing(cell breakdown), perpatuation of cancerous cells and an array of other postcursurs once an illness has started in the human organism.
A, free, solution we should consider is music. In a study conducted by the Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan randomly assigned 116 pregnant women to a music group and 120 to a control group.
“The music group showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety and depression after just two weeks, using three established measurement scales” says Professor Chung-Hey Chen, who is now based at the National Cheng Kung University.
“In comparison, the control group showed a much smaller reduction in stress, while their anxiety and depression scores showed little or no improvement.
“Women in the music group also expressed preferences for the type of music they listened to, with lullabies, nature and crystal sounds proving more popular than classical music.”
The results showed that:
- Before they took part in the study, women in the music group scored 17.44 on the Perceived Stress Scale, which ranges from zero to 30. After the intervention their stress levels had dropped by an average of 2.15, which is statistically significant. Women in the control group reported a much smaller fall of 0.92.
- Anxiety was measured by the State Scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, which ranges from 20 to 80. It fell by 2.13 from 37.92 in the music group and rose by 0.71 in the control group.
- Depression was measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scale, which ranges from zero to 30. The music group reported an average level of 12.11 before the intervention and a reduction of 1.84 at the end of the two-week period. The score was almost constant in the control group, falling by an insignificant 0.03.
- “Pregnancy is a unique and stressful period for many expectant mothers and they suffer anxiety and depression because of the long time period involved” says Professor Chen. “In fact, anxiety and depression during pregnancy is a similar health problem to postnatal depression.
- “Any intervention that reduces these problems is to be welcomed. Our study shows that listening to suitable music provides a simple, cost-effective and non-invasive way of reducing stress, anxiety and depression during pregnancy.
Although the results of this study were conducted on woman that were pregnant, the results still hold merit as to the power of music to soothe and calm during stress. This actually solidifies the argument – pregnancy is perhaps one of the most stressful events the human body can encounter. Physical, psychological, hormonal and biochemical changes occur during pregnancy at a rapid rate. This causes a whirlwind of swift changes that result in stress in the aforementioned areas. Music can offer us a way to escape our current situation, allowing for there to be break in the stress and an easing of reality.