Brought to you by Good Health magazine
Music can benefit your health in all sorts of ways apparently, it's all about the beat, says Helen Foster.
You know that sad songs can make you cry, smoochy songs can put you in the mood for love, and some songs just make you want to dance but music can do a lot more for your body than that. It can rev up your immunity, make you sleep, and even make you feel less pain if you match the tune to the task. So what's the right tune for you?
If something hurts:
Put on your favourite tune.
Studies have shown that listening to music can reduce the amount of pain people feel by as much as 21 per cent but you get the best results if it's a tune you really enjoy.
Dr Don Knox who studies music and mood at Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University told us, "In trials carried out here, patients showed reduction of stress levels, increased tolerance to pain and increased feelings of control over pain listening to everything from Tchaikovsky to the Ramones, the key was they liked the song."
The reasons are thought to be partly that music distracts you from your feelings, but also that if you have positive emotions attached to the song, hearing it might also raise your endorphin levels.
Three tunes to try: We can't prescribe these ones as they have to be your favourite tunes. Try one that makes you dance/sing out loud, one that reminds you of a happy memory or one that reminds you of someone or somewhere you love
If it's cough and cold season:
Download a karaoke classic.
While listening to music per se hasn't been shown to improve your immune system, singing to it has. In trials at Germany's Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, it was found that singing increased levels of IgA an immune protein that's particularly good at fighting off respiratory infections.
"We have no clue why it happens, all we know is it's not enough to merely expose yourself to music to get results," says the study's author Gunter Kreutz. Any song will work, but some sound therapists believe that singing long 'ooooo' sounds (as in words like you, tool, school) are particularly immune boosting as they are believed to stimulate the spleen.
Three tunes to try: . I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston; Beautiful by Christina Aguilera; School's Out by Alice Cooper
If you're hitting the gym:
Go for fast songs with 'power' lyrics.
Doing so could increase your endurance by as much as 15 per cent, says research by Dr Costas Karageorghis, author of Inside Sport Psychology (Human Kinetics Publishers, $28.95). He's found that the right music blocks out feelings of fatigue so you do more during your workout.
The ideal tunes have 120 to 140bpm (faster than this can be stressful to the body as your
heart tries to keep up), plus they have a rhythm that mimics what you're doing in the exercise –
a waltz beat, for example, would be a disaster in
a Step class.
Finally, they contain lyrics that are either self affirmative or refer to keeping on moving. "There's a reason that people work out to Eye of the Tiger or Stronger by Kanye West," says Karageorghis.
Three tunes to try: Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas, Jump by Van Halen, Breathe by The Prodigy.
For the full story, see the April issue of Good Health. Subscribe to 12 issues of Good Health for $59.95 and receive free Advanced Natural Rebalancing Moisturiser.