How Music Boosts Health and Wellbeing: Mind-Body Benefits


By: Foluke Akinwalere. Freelance Health Writer. Medical review and editorial support provided by the DLHA Team

A black woman dancing to music from a headphone

A black woman dancing to music from a headphone.





Have you ever noticed how your favorite song can lift your spirits or how a gentle tune can help you relax after a long day?


That is the magic of music at work, impacting your mental, emotional, and physical well-being in profound ways.


Music is more than just a source of entertainment—it’s a powerful tool for enhancing health and wellbeing. From the soothing melodies that calm your mind to the energising beats that get you moving, music has a heartfelt impact on both our mental and physical states. 


This blog will explore how music boosts health and wellbeing, uncovering the mind-body benefits that make it an essential part of our daily lives.  You will also discover practical ways to integrate this powerful medium into your routine.


Why Is Music So Powerful on Human’s Health?


Music has a special and deep influence that goes beyond mere entertainment.  It is a universal form of communication that connects with the essence of your emotions, bringing out feelings and memories that words may not be able to convey. [1]


The impact of music is seen in its ability to affect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.  From a scientific perspective, music can stimulate the brain to release various neurotransmitters that can improve mood and decrease stress levels. [2] Music also has the power to change heart rate, alleviate pain, and assist in physical recovery, showcasing its therapeutic qualities.


Music not only has physical effects but also plays a vital role in creating social connections and empathy, crossing cultural and language barriers.  It serves as tools for emotional expression. It can also help you to understand and communicate complex feelings.  In therapeutic settings, music is used to improve mental health, support healing, and promote overall wellness.


Ultimately, the power of music to heal, inspire, and unite explains its essential role in human life.


What Is The Connection Between Music And The Brain?


The connection between music and health is deeply rooted in the way music can influence your brain and body. It involves complex neural processes that affect both mental and physical well-being.  


When you listen to music, it activates various parts of your brain, including the auditory cortex (responsible for processing sound), limbic systems (associated with memory and emotional response), and prefrontal cortex (responsible for processing the meaning and context of the music). 


The study of music’s influence on the brain uncover deep links between sound and brain activity.  Listening to music triggers intricate processes in the brain that lead to the release of various neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. [3]  


Dopamine, known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is linked to pleasure and reward, explaining why hearing a beloved song can boost your spirits and create a feeling of happiness.  Serotonin, on the other hand, plays a role in mood regulation, sleep, and anxiety, contributing to the calming and stabilising effects of music.


In general, the complex connection between the brain and music highlights its significant influence on our mental and emotional well-being, demonstrating its effectiveness as a tool for improving overall health.


What Are Some Mental Health Benefits Of Music?


Music has a powerful impact on your mental health, providing various benefits that improve your emotional and psychological wellness.  


  • Reduces stress


One of the key advantages of music is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety.  Listening to calming music can lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), resulting in a feeling of relaxation and decreased tension.  This stress-relieving property makes music a valuable tool for managing anxiety disorder and everyday stress.


  • Enhances mood


Music also offers a healthy way to express and deal with your emotions, which can be especially helpful if you’re dealing with depression.  It can act as a form of emotional release, enabling you to connect with and communicate your feelings through melodies and lyrics.


  • Improves cognitive functions


Music has a positive impact on mental health by enhancing cognitive functions like memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.  This is beneficial for those with cognitive impairments and those looking to maintain mental sharpness as they age.


  • Promotes social connections


Furthermore, music promotes social connections and empathy.  If you engage in group activities such as singing in a choir or playing in a band, music can enhance social bonds and create a sense of community in you.  This is essential for your mental health.  Music’s capacity to evoke empathy and understanding can also improve interpersonal relationships, leading to better emotional well-being.


How Does Music Enhance Emotional Well-Being?


Music is a potent resource for improving your emotional health, acting as a crucial avenue for emotional expression and processing.  Engaging with music, either by listening to it or creating it, enables you to convey emotions that may be challenging to communicate verbally.  


Whether through the somber melodies of a sorrowful track or the lively beat of a happy melody, music helps you to explore your range of emotions, offering you a supportive medium for processing and relating to your internal emotions.


What is Music Therapy and How Does it Improve Quality Of Life?


Music has been effectively used in various forms of therapy to help in emotional healing and offer psychological support.  


Music Therapy is a professional practice in which therapists use music to address clients’ emotional, cognitive, and social needs.  It has demonstrated significant success in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and grief. It is also used in most cultures in Africa by traditional healers and others to offer comfort during grief and to manage mental health issues. [4]  


Music therapy harnesses the power of music to enhance quality of life.  Through the strategic use of musical elements—such as rhythm, melody, and harmony—music therapists address a variety of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs.


A recent study showed that the use of music therapy and other music interventions such as listening to music and singing, can create significant improvement in quality of life. But no single specific amount of music was identified as universally effective for all individuals. [5]


This therapeutic approach can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and alleviate symptoms of depression.  


Whether used it in medical environments or you incorporate it into everyday schedules, music therapy can provide you with a comprehensive and easily accessible method to enhance your overall wellness. 


Music and Physical Health


Music also offers numerous physical benefits that can enhance your overall health and wellbeing.


  • Pain Management


Music serves as a natural pain relief.  Listening to music can act as a natural pain reliever by distracting the brain from pain signals and promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Study has shown that patients who listen to music before, during, and after surgery report less pain and require fewer pain medications. [6]  


  • Cardiovascular Health


Calming music can lower heart rate and blood pressure, promoting cardiovascular health.  It induces a state of relaxation, reducing the risk of heart disease and hypertension.


  • Stress Reduction


Listening to relaxing music decreases cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress.  Reduced stress levels contribute to better overall health and can prevent stress-related physical conditions.


  • Exercise Enhancement


Upbeat, rhythmic music can boost physical performance by increasing your motivation and endurance during exercise.  It helps you to maintain a steady exercise pace, reduce perceived effort, and makes your workout more enjoyable, for example aerobic dances.


  • Physical Rehabilitation


Music therapy helps in physical rehabilitation by improving motor skills and coordination.  If you are recovering from stroke or injuries, rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) can help you to regain movement and coordination.


  • Sleep Quality


Listening to soothing music before bedtime can improve your sleep quality.  It helps relax your mind and body, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.


  • Immune System Boost


Music can boost your immune system by reducing stress and anxiety, which are known to weaken immune function.  Relaxing music has been shown to increase the production of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a crucial role in immune response. [1]


  • Respiratory Function


Music, especially singing and playing of wind instruments, can enhance your respiratory functioning by encouraging deep and controlled breathing patterns.  This can be particularly beneficial, if you have respiratory conditions.


  • Digestive Health


Relaxing music can promote better digestion by reducing stress and activating the components of the nervous system, which aids in digestive processes.


  • Mobility and Balance


Music therapy, particularly through rhythmic exercises, can help you improve your gait and balance especially if you suffer from movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.


Get practical tips from here on how to use music to boost your health and wellbeing.





Music is a powerful tool that significantly enhances health and wellbeing.  From reducing stress and managing pain to improving mood and fostering social connections, the benefits of integrating music into your daily life can be profound and far-reaching.  By exploring different types and classes and creating personalised playlists, you can harness the therapeutic power of music to enrich your emotional and physical health.   Make music a regular part of your routine and discover the positive changes it can bring to your health and well-being.



1.   Rebecchini L. Music, mental health, and immunity. Brain Behav Immun Health. 2021 Oct 21;18:100374. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100374. PMID: 34761245; PMCID: PMC8566759.  Available from here.

2.   Mona LC, Daniel JL.The neurochemistry of music, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 17, Issue 4, 2013, Pages 179-193, ISSN 1364-6613, doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.02.007. Available from here.

3.   Harvard Health. Music and Health. [Internet. 2021 Sept 11]. Accessed: May 27, 2024. Available from here.  

4.   Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Music therapy. [Internet. Last edited, April 1, 2024] Accessed May 30, 2024. Available from here.

5.   McCrary JM, Altenmüller E, Kretschmer C, Scholz DS. Association of Music Interventions With Health-Related Quality of Life: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Mar 1;5(3):e223236. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.3236.Available from here.

6.   Kühlmann AYR, de Rooij A. Kroese LF, van Dijk M, Hunink MGM. Jeekel J. Meta-analysis evaluating music interventions for anxiety and pain in surgery. Br J Surg, 2018, 105: 773-783. doi: 10.1002/bjs.10853. Available from here.



Published: June 9, 2024

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