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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Hymns, Hip-hop, Henry and your Health

  • There's more to music than meets the ears. If you're anxious, depressed, fatigued or in pain, you might consider a dose of tunes to ease you back to health.
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  • There's more to music than meets the ears. If you're anxious, depressed, fatigued or in pain, you might consider a dose of tunes to ease you back to health.
     
    Music does something beyond our understanding. We can call it an endorphin release or a distraction, but it goes much deeper than that. Somehow music just does us good. And the good it does was just proven to be even better.
     
    Though some say music therapy studies often suffer from bias and misinterpretation, researchers in Taiwan recently weeded out the good from the bad reviewing more than 360 published articles. They analyzed the 21 studies found to have scientific integrity. When combining data from these studies, they discovered that cancer patients who regularly listen to music experienced significantly less depressive symptoms, pain, fatigue and anxiety.
     
    What type of music is best? From hymns to hip-hop, the combined studies convincingly showed that music therapy is more effective when the patient chooses the songs, rather than the researchers picking what they think is best.
     
    If we still need convincing, Henry is our poster boy. Henry is an elderly gentleman with dementia, seizures and depression who has lived in a nursing home for 10 years and is now a YouTube star.
     
    Slumped in his wheelchair, Henry hangs his head low, eyes half closed. He does not recognize his own daughter, barely mumbling a response to questions. But one day the nurses put on headphones and let him listen to his favorite music. Henry visibly comes to life, eyes wide open, talking of how much music means to him. Then he sings and breaks into a couple jazzy songs. If you’re not among the millions who have already seen one of the several short YouTube videos of Henry’s experience, check it out here.
     
    Though more research needs to be done, it's a tactic worth trying. Gotta headache? Just plain worn out? Down in the dumps? Worried about something? Try listening to your favorite tunes. Like Henry, see if it brings you out of your slump.

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