Did you know that music is so powerful that it can help you manage pain, and even fight stress?
Sudies have shown that rhythmic music stimulates part of the brain to increase blood flow – and it can help with anxiety, with elderly people’s cognitive functions, autism and generally to balance out an individual’s stress levels.
Kids squabbbling? Partner late for a date? Deadline looming?
Well, if you are yet to create a unique playlist for your listening pleasure, here are a thousand and one reasons to do so: With the healing power of music, you can fight stress, manage pain, stimulate your mind and find comfort. And if you want an extra release via music therapy, then put down your headset and pick up a drum! The groove has been known to enhance the healing effect of music.
Creating your own playlist
If you are not sure what healing music is most suitable for you, then you may want to experiment. My friend’s dog, for example, hates fireworks – but Beethoven really calms him down!
Someone who’s shy may benefit from what I’d call “lilting” music that can easily be integrated with breathing rhythms. On the other hand, a more expressive person may be happy integrating vibrations such as drumming or gongs in their therapy. To test what personality type you fit into, simply ask yourself what you do anytime you stub your toe: do you bear it with a grin? Or do you curse and yell?
Grooving in labor
Women giving birth are often encouraged to go along with the music. Music puts you in a relaxed mood during labor: in fact, some women go as far as hiring the services of musicians to give them live music while they slug it out on the table.
Music appears to be helpful in two ways – either as a distraction, where images are created in the mind or as integration for active breath’s creation. It is also useful as a pain release during labor.
Maintaining a focus on rhythmic music, asking a drummer into the labor room, or even tapping a rhythm with a free hand can help with the release of pain.
Also, never underestimate the benefit of putting your labor under control. Women generally rate the positivity of their birth experience in proportion to the total control they exercised over their experience.
The support of a spouse is equally important, but the sense of empowerment that women experience from being able to select their music or their labor position makes the birthing experience very significant.
Keeping the beat
Appreciating a drum or any musical instrument isn’t meant for only musicians. The pain-alleviating effects of the rhythm have been observed among cancer patients and patients in nursing homes. There are indications that it could counter dysmenorrhea or other regular aches.
Signing up with a drum circle can enhance the pain-fighting benefits by:
- Reducing loneliness
- Enhancing relaxation
- Creating a spiritual connection
- Creating an outlet for emotional release
Your health and music therapy: what’s the connection?
Here are a few other direct links between music therapy and health:
Music is heart-friendly. A study involving 10 adults in their 30s showed that blood flow was more uniform when they were listening to “joyful” music. The increase in blood flow was similar to that in aerobic activity. Music cannot replace a workout, no doubt, but it seems to be good for the heart. And if you have concerns about hypertension, then give this prescription a try: 12 minutes of Mozart thrice weekly can cause a reduction in your blood pressure, according to a study.
Music therapy can help you to deal with addiction
Taking part in a group music production can help people battling with addiction to bond socially, relax with ease, as well as find emotional release.
So, go create a playlist. There’s no easier and entertaining way to fight stress and boost your general sense of well-being.
Am I doomed, now that I’ve turned 37? All these things, coming up – like wrinkles, extra kilos and tiredness.
And lack of that precious time for myself, because I have two small kids that take all of it. So before I had time to walk, go to the gym, swim and now it’s from office to home and to bed.
If it’s not the diabetes or hypertension that will hit us, it will be osteoporosis. How many women have heard of osteoporosis and how many women are actually doing something about it? Don’t we consider it a disease for old people? Will it affect me?
The older we are, the scarier it gets. The more years we have, the more chance there is to get osteoporosis, especially after menopause. Osteoporosis is a state where your bones start losing their density, meaning that they become more fragile. Often, it’s totally asymptomatic and there is no pain involved, before the first bone breaks. It is a silent enemy that crawls progressively and over time affecting the most active bones in our body – yes, those that we move on a daily basis. The good news, however is, that there is something you can do about it and you can prevent it.
Around 80% of the osteoporosis cases are usually women. It’s because we women have thinner and smaller bones then men. Every fourth person with osteoporosis is a woman; however according to statistics, men have more osteoporosis related complications than women. Also, estrogen levels decrease rapidly as women age and especially after menopause.
Estrogen regulates your menstrual cycle, stimulates growth of breast sand affects the reproductive system. If there is an imbalance – like with anything in life – there will be problems.
This is actually the main cause for osteoporosis, a hormonal imbalance.
Estrogen preserves our bones and their strength and prevents bone loss. So where can we get this magical stuff?
Significant sources of estrogen are soybeans, flaxseeds, edamame beans, garlic and sesame seeds, peaches and other dried fruits, berries and tofu. Well – that’s a healthy ingredient list for at least a month! Change those candies to berries and to dried prunes, dates and apricots! Forget the potato chips, instead get some tofu-snacks! Spice up your life with that extra garlic! And now that we talk about beneficial foods to prevent osteoporosis don’t forget calcium and some vitamin D or just those 15 minutes in the sun. Grab a handful of almonds and have a piece of cheese, forget the fizzy drink and have a glass of that fresh nutritious milk! But leave the third coffee cup; coffee hinders absorption of that precious calcium that you need.
What is interesting in osteoporosis is that it affects different women in a different way; if you are Caucasian, Asian, African American or Latino you have a differen chance getting it – the 20% figure for caucasian women is twice that of African Americans. It is explained by higher bone mineral density sun exposure.Their concentration of parathyroid hormone is also much higher, which again means that hey lose less bone density during their life.
What also helps enormously to prevent osteoporosis and to maintain that high bone density is movement. Moving your butt not to the car seat but away from the sofa and into nature. Any walking, jogging, climbing or dancing is great. Zumba, body pump, spinning, cycling – you name it! For gym lovers there are great news too – one of the most effective ways to prevent osteoporosis is strength-exercises, pushups, bench-press, deadlifts, sit-ups and sit-downs, whatever really makes you happy as long as there is some extra weight.
This way you can truly prevent and treat osteoporosis. It’s never too late and you can always start from zero. It is not easy and it is scary (because you feel fragile) if you already have osteopenia, which is a step away from osteoporosis. But it is something you must do! You can start progressively with flexibility and stability exercises. These kinds of exercises will also help you to prevent falling, which in turn will lead to breaking bones. Stretching and static-exercises are really great to start with; swimming is a good low-impact sport that can be practiced too; however, as it is an activity that is practiced in hyper-gravity (floating) it doesn’t put enough stress on the bones. This is one of the best ways to have some activity for those that already have severe osteoporosis and can’t do other sports because of the pain.
Some sports are not recommended for those that already have osteoporosis or osteopenia. Forget such high-impact sports life golf, skiing, bowling, tennis anything where you bend and twist your bones.
Remember, however athletic you are, it is not a safe-ticket to not having osteoporosis. Unfortunately however healthy you are, you can still get it, at least you can live a happier and longer pain-free life. We women do live longer than men, for several reasons and one of those is that we take care of ourselves more than they do.
To sum up it all: stay active, don’t smoke, and don’t overdrink (of course you can have that glass of wine!) eat well (it’s the quality, not the quantity) and enjoy the sun – in moderation!.