Music as Medicine

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A book review of Music as Medicine: Particularly in Parkinson’s by Daphne Bryan PhD

Stars: ****

Click Street Publishing (2020)
112 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Music can play an important part in our lives yet how many of us appreciate the effect it has on our brains, bodies and moods, or understand how we can use music as a medicine? Music has the power to reduce everyday symptoms, such as stress, insomnia, pain, depression, and even snoring, as well as helping challenges found in neurological conditions such as freezing and gait problems, and difficulties with voice and swallowing.

With modern advances in technology, scientists are now able to measure the precise effect of music on body and brain. Music as Medicine presents many research studies which have examined the effect of music on various conditions, and offers clear suggestions as to how readers can use music to reduce various symptoms, whether a person thinks themselves musical or not. It covers three aspects of musical involvement: listening to music, moving to music and making music.

Daphne Bryan, PhD, takes a special look at the benefits of music for neurological conditions, Parkinson’s in particular. Music stimulates many areas of the brain and in the case of damaged brains, it can activate alternative pathways to act in the place of damaged ones. Many of the symptoms discussed are also experienced by people with other diagnoses and by those who are otherwise fit and healthy so this book contains much that is relevant to all.

Music as Medicine

I really found this book interesting. I don’t know anyone with Parkinson’s disease but you don’t have to have it or know someone with it to get something from this book.

If you’ve ever wondered if music can have a healing influence on your body and mind, you aren’t crazy. The author has done the research and the book is full of references to show that it’s not just the author’s opinion, but real facts and science behind what she says.

The book starts with an introduction and then goes over listening to music, moving to music and making music with a personal note at the end and some appendices.

“Recent advances in neuroscience, brain imaging and technology have made it possible to study exactly what response happens in the brain when a person listens to music. Finnish researchers, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) discovered that music does something to the brain that no other stimulus does: it lights up more of the brain than any other activity.”

Page 6 Music as Medicine

The book mentions Parkinson’s but also some common symptoms of Parkinson’s that other people may have for other reasons such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, pain and brain fog. I found this all very interesting since I encounter all these issues myself with my various health problems.

“Researchers have also found that music we heard as teenagers may have a greater emotional link to our brain than anything we hear as a an adult.”

page 18 Music as Medicine

That does not surprise me at all! I don’t know a single adult that doesn’t love the music they listened to as a teenager more than anything they heard before or since. Music is a big part of a teen’s life.

The book is very short which is good because nowadays who has time for a long book? It covers the basics of music as medicine and I’d like to see even more research going into this idea. Perhaps music can be used in assisted living or elder care homes or psych wards of hospitals. Wouldn’t that be nice.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.