Listening to music – especially music we enjoy can bring about contentment and happiness. And the pleasure we get from it can boost our physical and mental health in ways that are just recently being recognized.

An article in the journal Brain points out that listening to music can improve verbal memory for people who have suffered a stroke. Studies have also noted that listening to music is linked with the dilation of blood vessels’ inner linings – allowing more blood flow through the blood vessels, which may improve heart health.

Music may also soothe physical pain, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain. When study participants were tested for pain using fingertip electrodes, those people who were listening to music had less feelings of discomfort. One researcher compared the benefits of music to the effects a massage can provide in reducing stress and anxiety. Many hospitals provide “music therapists” to their patients – often while they are receiving complicated treatments.

While music may not cure the pain of a headache, it can provide a measure of “quality of life” for everyone. If your idea of listening to music is turning on the car radio, grabbing your iPod, or enjoying live music, go for it…. just make sure it’s music you like!   HuffPost Healthy Living    2/19/13

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