Music seems to activate almost every single emotion system at the same time in ways that very few other things can

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“Research has shown that when people listen to music that they prefer they have reduced the need for pain mediation, need less anesthesia, and experience less stress during medical procedures. Music can also help lessen the perception of pain and help alleviate depression in people experiencing chronic pain. Music is used to help people recover when they have lost speech ability because of a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Specific types of music therapy can foster development of alternative neural pathways in healthy parts of the brain when some parts of the brain are damaged.

Music therapy can also help stroke survivors recover motor skills, and the rhythm of music has been used to help people with Parkinson’s initiate movement. Music can increase the effectiveness of physical rehabilitation by helping to motivate people (similar to the way music can help motive you during exercise.)

Ani Patel, psychology professor and author of the “Music, Language and the Mind,” noted in a recent interview on the Diane Rhem show, “the great emotional power of music may be because it doesn’t just activate one emotion system in the brain, it seems to activate almost every single emotion system at the same time in ways that very few other things can.” Patel also noted that music is not a replacement for other treatments, but a way of enhancing aspects of healing.” (American Psychiatric Association)

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