After a long, torturous day, a song you love unexpectedly emerges from your speakers and settles around you. Suddenly, some of your stress falls away. The tension in your shoulders releases, your foot taps and a smile tugs at the corners of your mouth.
We have all experienced moments where music makes us feel better, whether it is getting us through a bad day, a miserable break-up or a killer workout. So, it is no surprise that Pandora Internet Radio and PeaceHealth have teamed up to use music to improve the health and happiness of listeners.
If you live in Clark County, there is a good chance you have used PeaceHealth, the not-for-profit healthcare organization with medical centers and clinics located throughout the region. As a Catholic healthcare ministry, PeaceHealth is motivated by the example of Jesus Christ to promote the health of individuals and of the community. By treating each person in a loving manner, they aim to decrease pain and suffering and increase overall life satisfaction. One of their missions is to treat the whole person, which includes the body, mind, spirit and, of course, relationships. Recently, the healthcare system launched a free digital radio station called Healthy You on Pandora as part of this mission.
Pandora, for those unfamiliar with the internet radio company, launched in 2005 as the face of the music genome project. It calls itself the “most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken.” Every one of its roughly 900,000 songs is assigned to 450 genes, or musical attributes. When a user creates a station using an artist’s album or song, Pandora centers every subsequent song that plays on the associated genes. It is a deeply personalized approach to music.
We know from personal experience that music has the power to make us happy, but it is also backed up by science. A study conducted at McGill University reveals large amounts of the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine are released when participants listen to their favorite music. As a result, they experience increased joy and excitement. Now, happiness may not seem integral to good health, but there are numerous studies that link it to a strengthened immune system, healthier heart, lower level of stress, decreased amount of aches and pains and longer life.
Music also has tangible health benefits beyond its ability to alter your mood for the better. Research from Cornell University shows people who listen to soft music during meals experienced greater pleasure from the meal and ate fewer calories. When used along with lower lighting, music decreased calorie intake among participants by 18 percent.
And, music reduces pain. Scientists at Drexel University confirmed cancer patients experienced less pain when they participated in music therapy. The same has been shown for geriatric care and intensive care patients in other studies.
Plus, music helps with sleep. More than one third of American adults fail to get sufficient rest. Several studies show that listening to soothing music for 45 minutes before bed increases the quality of shut-eye.
Healthy You radio features a wide variety of contemporary, upbeat songs to lift listeners’ spirits and boost their energy. In addition to the benefits of the music, the station is peppered with tips for healthy living. Artists featured include Beyonce, Meghan Trainor, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Pitbull.
If you are interested in improving your health through music or are just looking for some new jams to jumpstart your gym routine, check out PeaceHealth’s Healthy You station on Pandora.