Listening to music boosts your immunity.
“The trick is finding music that soothes your soul,” Berk says. Scientists at McGill University in Montreal found that listening to music that sent “shivers down the spine” stimulated the same “feel-good” parts of the brain that are activated by food and sex. “Even better than listening to music is making it,” says Bittman, who found that people who took part in a group-drumming session had greatly enhanced natural killer-cell activity.
Endorphins. Under certain conditions, listening to musiccan stimulate the release of endorphins. How? (better “how” than “why?”!). Endorphins trigger emotional responses in our limbic system. The limbic system is composed of the thalamus, hypothalamus, pituitary, amygdala, hippocampus, and other subcortical structures. In order, these organs are involved in relaying sensory information, regulating our autonomic nervous system, releasing hormones into the bloodstream, effecting behavioral reactions, storing memories, and regulating incoming sensory information, such as music. All of these structures are linked together, as well as interconnected to the brain. The limbic system has a great deal to do with emotional experiences. It has many opiate receptors, or nerve endings that are sensitive to endorphins, among other chemicals. In short, when we listen to music, sing, chant, tone, etc., these experiences can trigger various mechanisms in our limbic system, releasing endorphins, and helping us to feel better.
Surprising Ways to Boost Your Immune System
This article is a guest post by Jennette Cable ND, CTN, CCH
Listening to music can boost immunity, making it less likely that you’ll catch the latest bug going around. Stress-reducing music supports the body in creating antibodies that fight disease. The key (pun intended) is to listen to music that reduces stress levels, thereby reducing cortisol levels.
What kind of music boosts immunity? First and foremost, it must be music that you absolutely love. Your immunity-boosting playlist should stir your soul. Take time to gather songs that relax you AND lift your mood.
Keep in mind that some of the music we love may also excite us, and this excitement is not always immunity-boosting. A playlist that is designed to “entrain” your mood is optimal. Entraining music contains beats and key signatures that are capable of gradually changing our mood to a more uplifting, positive one. Consider a sound therapy consultation with a sound therapist to assist you in compiling your optimal immune-boosting playlist.
More supportive than listening to music when attempting to boost your immune system is actuallymaking music. It has been discovered that individuals who participated in a group drum circle experienced an increase in natural killer-cell activity immediately after participation.
On the other hand, excessive volume and noise can weaken your immune system. Exposure to heavy syncopated beats and loud noise is known to trigger muscle tension, constrict blood vessels, and increase heartbeat – all of which can increase your susceptibility to illness.
Research conducted at Cornell University showed that women who worked in noisy offices produced greater amounts of adrenaline (a stress hormone) than those who worked in quiet office conditions, possibly making them more susceptible to heart disease. Exposure to other uncontrollable noises such as car alarms, barking dogs, and other environmental noises has an equally negative effect on the immune system.
So, listening to your soul, banging a drum, and helping your neighbor find a good dog trainer may all support you in feeling better during this year’s cold and flu season!