Because music can be medicine
Music is one of the most important parts of my life because I can’t remember a day when I didn’t listen to music. Music brings people together while we dance and rejoice. We turn to it when we feel sad, or listening to certain songs can transport us to a happier place.
Do you sometimes get goosebumps when you listen to some songs? That phenomenon is called frisson. It’s a psychophysiological response to stimuli when it feels good, and we notice a physical response to it. I often feel it when I listen to songs by Odesza.
Music is often used in hospitals to calm and heal people because it has the power to reduce stress. After all, music is medicine. Music therapy can help improve invasive procedures, reduce side effects of cancer therapy, and improve the quality of life for dementia patients (via Harvard Health Publishing).
When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I listen to this song, and I can feel anxiety leaving my body slowly, and I feel soothed. When I hear this song on repeat, it calms my nervous system, and I can feel a difference.
The song is “Weightless” by Marconi Union.
It is considered the most relaxing track in the world, with millions of streams on various websites and music streaming apps. There are studies that prove how this song can help soothe your nervous system and make you feel calmer.
A 2019 study done at the University of Pennsylvania showed that patients who listened to this song prior to surgery experienced similar levels of lowered anxiety and increased relaxation compared to patients who got an injection of 1–2 mg of midazolam. Plus, listening to music doesn’t have any side effects.
The secret behind the song is that it was created by a group of sound therapists who “carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines designed specifically to calm listeners down.” (via Penn Medicine News).
In another study, Mindlab International asked 40 participants to solve a challenging puzzle while listening to 10 different songs. The group listening to Weightless performed the best as they recorded a decrease in anxiety and stress by 65% among that group.
There is a science to this song as the sound therapists start the song with 60 beats per minute (BPM), which is the average resting heart rate of an adult. As the song progresses, it moves to 50 BPM- an intentional choice to lower the listener’s heart rate to increase feeling calmer.
The power of music cannot be undermined because our senses are strong, and we are resilient. Music can heal us because it is a language, we all understand. It is one of the few holistic approaches to healing that has helped many people and will continue to help more.
Next time you feel increased levels of stress or anxiety- listen to Weightless and experience your anxiety linger away. It’ll make you feel weightless.