Say It With Songs

Tags

, , , ,

I don’t think there’s a person on earth…in their right mind, who looks forward to a trip to the dentist. Next week, I’m due again for that stress. Just making the appointment sent my mind back to the time that prompted me to write the post “A Joyful Noise.” This was when I learned that music is a gift from God.

bigstock_Woman_portrait_silhouette_with_13427765

As I mentioned in the post, for about three pain-free hours I had a wonderful time singing my favorite tunes, along with the artists, just as if I had been there when they were recording. This resulted in the temporary relief of pain from an excruciating toothache.

I hesitated to write about that experience because I thought this only happened to me, and people would think I was crazy or lying about this music/pain phenomenon. Well, how surprised I was to learn that I wasn’t unique. Hearing music we like causes our amazing brain to release the pain-relieving and “feel-good” chemicals–endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Wow!

When looking back at the titles of all those songs I belted out, I began to see how they could actually be put into a paragraph to convey a message. Because I’m hoping that we will all be blessed with long, healthy, happy lives, this is just what I want to say to you:

At this time in our lives, I believe we gotta have high hopes. Let’s vow that come rain, or come shine, we’re going to stop saying, “Don’t get around much anymore.” What are you doing the rest of your life? Chances are, we are all too sentimental about the way we were. But now it’s time to get serious and take good care of ourselves, because for all we know, the best is yet to come. Therefore, I invite you to come fly with me on this journey through life, and smile, because starting here, starting now, we’ve got a lot of livin’ to do.

How many titles did you recognize? Let us know if they brought back memories. Even if you didn’t know any of them, the message is sincere.

I hope you will be inspired by the remarkable benefits of music when you read “A Joyful Noise” and watch the videos “The Wonders of Music.” The information could be life changing for you or someone you know.

Let us know your thoughts. You’re the reason for this blog (see the “About You” page). So please, leave a message in the Comments section below and arrow down to click the Post Comment button. What you say may be just the thing to make someone’s day. Thanks.

Image–Bigstock.com

Advertisements

Drink Up!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

pressione altaHow are you coping with the hot weather? Are you sick and tired of this heat? I mean are you really sick and tired due to the temperature? Feel like you’re chugging along on one cylinder? Dehydration could be the culprit. Nothing triggers fatigue, depression and mood swings like dehydration.  Unfortunately, it can take hours before you realize that your body is in trouble.

I found out the hard way. Hopefully, my encounter with this lack of fluid will help you avoid the same pitfall.

Needless to say, I felt awful and couldn’t function normally. Before I could even get out of bed, “Charley Horse” grabbed my legs and also forced my toes to bend and curl against their will–pain, pain, pain! A rapid heart beat had me feeling like I had been running a race–as I got out of bed each morning. My throat was painfully dry and my tongue felt like it was glued to the roof of my mouth.

14737877_s (1)All day I was completely drained. Concentration abandoned me. Couldn’t even follow a simple recipe. Head was “swimming” and I couldn’t remember what I had just been thinking about. This went beyond brain fog. I thought I had come down with a case of dementia.

At times, chills had me reaching for a sweater even though the thermostat was on 79. Dizziness had me stumbling from room to room. Blood pressure dipped dangerously low leaving me even more tired, wobbly, and weak. Most afternoons, sleepiness took over sending me back to bed to nap. (I hadn’t napped since kindergarten.)

Increased thirst is a sign of dehydration, but you can’t rely on it, I never got thirsty. I blamed this lack of water for a disturbing nightmare about my father who died years ago. (I hadn’t had a nightmare about anyone or anything in years.) Not getting enough water will also show up in your face, highlighted by deeper fine lines and even deeper wrinkles–every woman’s nightmare!

20841774_sNow I could understand this lack of fluid if I had been exercising or working in the yard, but I hadn’t been out of the house in several days. Beware! Dehydration can set in while spending most of the day sitting still in an air-conditioned room. Every day we naturally lose water and a small amount of electrolytes through sweat, breathing, and waste. Most of us fail to drink enough fluids to cover all we lose.

In my attempt to get back to normal, in addition to drinking water, I ate lots of soup, broth, fruits, and vegetables but nixed sugary drinks and juices.

How easy it is to forget the time when we’re engrossed in whatever we’re doing. To make sure I now get enough fluids every day, I set the timer so that I have to get up from the computer to go into the kitchen to drink or eat. Mounting evidence shows that sitting too long can cause major health problems and take years off your life. Also, by getting up, I’m reminded to do three 10-minute sessions of brisk walking in order to reach my goal of at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. When inconvenient to walk outside, I walk throughout the house–no excuses.

Obviously, staying hydrated is crucial for good health. Water is essential for every function, organ and cell in the body and can help with whatever ails you. For instance, evidence shows that water reduces the risk of kidney stones. Unfortunately, the rate of painful kidney stones is rising. One reason could be because adults, as well as children, would get a failing grade for water intake.

Dehydration is serious and can be deadly. When water level is really low, the body starts to shut down. My mother, who was an Alzheimer’s patient in a nursing home, died from kidney failure due to severe dehydration.

Enough said.

Drinking water

Let us know your thoughts. You’re the reason for this blog (see the “About You” page). So please, leave a message in the Comments section below and arrow down to click the Post Comment button. What you say may be just the thing to make someone’s day. Thanks.

Images:

  • fotolia.com
  • 123rf.com

Pressure Warning #1–Yoga

Tags

, , , ,

When yoga elevates blood pressure and pressure in the eye (glaucoma).

Heart HealthcareIt seems like everybody in the United States over the age of 30 has high blood pressure..well, maybe just ninety-nine per cent of people I know. Some of them are on as many as four meds a day to lower and control that undeniably unforgiving silent killer.

As I mentioned in the “About You” page, one of the reasons for starting a blog was to write about pitfalls I’ve been through that would cause much distress for anyone. This is an example:

Many of us are trying to find ways to keep our blood pressure within normal range with diet, exercise, physical activity, yoga, tai chi, etc.

For a long time I’ve heard and read about the wonderful benefits of yoga and how it can lower blood pressure, so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about this warning.

By the way, when some people heard that I was taking yoga classes, they envisioned me sitting on the floor with my eyes closed, legs folded like a pretzel, palms together and humming a prayer to a foreign god. I let them know that my plan was to gain more strength and energy, improve flexibility and balance, increase stamina, and to aim for relaxation and stress reduction. I assured them that yoga would not short-circuit my faith.

One day our instructor announced that those of us with high blood pressure or glaucoma, should not do the following poses. Well, I assumed she didn’t mean me because I didn’t have glaucoma and my BP was under control, so I did those poses. On the way home I realized I wasn’t feeling “quite right” when usually I felt great after class. I was pretty sure my BP was up. Now I know “they” say we can’t feel when our BP is elevated, however, I can usually feel when mine is either too high or too low. How about you?

At home, sure enough, my blood pressure readings were sky-high. After much research, I discovered that those positions we were warned about are called inversions. They’re a group of yoga poses where the legs or hips are higher than the heart, or the heart is higher than the head,

iStock_000015898994XSmall (1)

woman adho mukha svanasana Dog Position

woman sarvangasana setu bandha bridge pose yoga

causing blood pressure to spike, thereby increasing the risk for a stroke or other cardiac event. Those who have glaucoma (an eye condition) must avoid those inversions also because they increase the pressure of the fluid inside the eye which can cause vision loss or even blindness.

Of course there was no need to stop the classes, I just stopped doing those poses.

Lesson learned–know your risks and don’t assume.

Some of this information is part of the “Dumbbells And Diet” post now buried in the archives. Because this warning can prevent a serious outcome for many people, I decided to bring it to the attention of those who didn’t read that post.

Let us know your thoughts. You’re the reason for this blog. So please, leave a message in the Comments section below and arrow down to click the Post Comment button. What you say may be just the thing to make someone’s day. Thanks.

Images:

  • istock.com
  • fotolia.com

Gluten Tips–Joint Pain

Tags

, , , , , ,

Joint pain at wooden mannequin isolated on whiteAre you one of the millions suffering joint aches and pains that interfere in your life? Are you spending big bucks on pain meds, injections, ibuprofen, and other remedies to relieve that pain? Whether mild or excruciating, pain is your body warning you that something is wrong. What if your pain is being caused by what you’re eating?

As I recounted in the post “Goodbye Arthur” (now in the archives), I thought I had arthritis or that perhaps I was a candidate for a hip or knee replacement. Continuing exercise class was out of the question when even raising my arms became too painful. It was an effort to get in and out of the car as well as the bed. Thankfully, I had been keeping a food journal for a long time and I soon identified the “wrongdoer” — gluten, the protein found in wheat. I was tested for celiac disease, and to my relief, the test was negative; however I am gluten sensitive. There’s a wide range of symptoms associated with gluten, and joint pain is just one of them (brain fog is another).

9729249_sAll the goodies we love to eat, from mouth watering pastry to tempting pasta; from scrumptious cakes and fluffy croissants, to crunchy coating on chicken; if it’s made from wheat, rye or barley, it will cause much distress for those of us who can’t tolerate gluten. Many of those foods can now be purchased gluten-free but some are rated low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, texture and taste, and high in fat, cost and calories.

Unfortunately, gluten is often hidden in some brands of a surprising number of products and foods, such as beer and popcorn. For a better understanding of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy, read the post “Tips–Gluten No-No’s” (in archives). There you’ll find information about other grains considered safe as well as those to avoid. Also included is a list of ingredients to watch out for.

?????Why not start your own food journal and then really pay attention to “body talk” to see which foods trigger your symptoms? Perhaps you’ll discover that the problems inflicting misery on your body are similar to symptoms of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. But wait! Before switching to a gluten-free diet, discuss your findings with your doctor. If he or she decides to test you for celiac disease, in order to get an accurate diagnosis, gluten needs to be in your system, otherwise the test will show a false negative. However, even if you don’t have celiac disease, your symptoms could be due to gluten sensitivity, then you can eliminate gluten because it’s a problem for you.

(A recent article on health stated that 35% of adults search online to try to diagnose health conditions, and believe it or not, 41% of those who self-diagnose had their condition confirmed by a physician.)

Good luck!

Watch for a series of posts on “Gluten Tips” and a series on “Body Talk” revealing other health issues many of us are experiencing. Hopefully, you’ll be able to identify the culprit robbing your well-being.

Always check with your primary care doctor before making any major changes.

Related post: “No Wheat, No Weight? — Part 2”

Let us know your thoughts. You’re the reason for this blog (see the “About You” page). So please, leave a message in the Comments section below and arrow down to click the Post Comment button. What you say may be just the thing to make someone’s day. Thanks.

Images:

  • fotolia.com
  • 123rf.com

The Player Piano Player

Tags

, , , ,

Stress!  Even young children are not immune.

Grand PianoRecently, I read a story by a man who grew up in a family where all the kids had to put in their time taking piano lessons on their pride and joy…a big beautiful baby grand piano.  His story brought back memories.

At a very young age, I too had to take piano lessons…against my will! In my immature mind I thought it was child abuse, but nobody had given it a name at that time.

Somehow my mother got the idea that I should become a famous piano player. I don’t know if this revelation came to her before or after she found the piano. No, we didn’t have a big beautiful baby grand piano, but my mother did admire our neighbor’s big beautiful baby grand piano. Ms. Denny could really play that thing. Her fingers would glide across those keys like magic.

We would never have been able to afford a piano. We were probably listed as poor, but we didn’t feel poor until we didn’t have enough money to buy something that wasn’t a necessity. Because of fishing poles, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and somebody’s chickens, we never went hungry. Even though we got a new outfit only a few times a year, we had plenty of clothes because my mother could have written a book on shopping at thrift stores. Lots of things in our home had been new in someone else’s home. How lucky we were to live across the street from Bosco’s junk yard. The whole neighborhood had a good time roaming around that place and admiring the treasures we found. My mother was always on the lookout for a great bargain…or a freebie.

12567532_sOne day she came home from work all excited about a piano she found. It was sitting at the curb in front of a house in the rich part of town. My father called a few of his friends and off they went in his pickup truck to retrieve that piano before a junk man could get it.

Her prize “find” was a player piano, along with a box of useless piano rolls. It took up much too much space in our tiny living room. Mom did scrounge up enough money to have it tuned and several keys were fixed. It would serve the purpose–piano lessons for me. Stress!

Saturday mornings, there I was, sitting at Ms. Denny’s big beautiful baby grand piano. I loved that piano but hated the lessons. I was not one bit interested in lessons and after a few weeks, Ms. Denny told my mother that I wasn’t paying attention and that all I wanted to do was show off and flick my braids. I told myself that Ms. Denny was just jealous because she didn’t have long braids to flick. My mother told me that if I didn’t “straighten up and fly right” she would beat my butt for wasting her hard-earned money. Since my mother didn’t make idle threats, I soon learned to play the piano. Stress!

She was so excited about her budding pee-anist, she told everybody. Whenever our church, or anybody’s church, had any kind of special Sunday afternoon celebration, she made sure I was part of the entertainment on the program. I would get almost physically sick to my stomach just thinking about having to play. I was terrified of making mistakes and hitting the wrong notes. Stress!

This went on for probably about a year and I hated it. One very hot summer day, a little old church out in the sticks, was celebrating something and had booked too many people on the program. There was no air conditioning in churches back then and I was the last one on the program. When my name was called, I trembled in fear as usual as I walked down the aisle and sat on that rickety old piano stool, at that dusty old dilapidated piano and started playing my two-page piece of music. Stress!

Old piano keyboardIt was no surprise to anyone that the poor old piano had been neglected for a long time. It looked like it should be sitting at the curb waiting for the junk man. Not only was it out of tune but some of the keys would stick and some didn’t play at all. I thought about giving up and returning to my seat, but for some reason I relaxed, sat up straight, and let my fingers glide across those keys like Ms. Denny as I pretended I was playing at Carnegie Hall. It didn’t matter that I played the wrong notes because nobody knew if it was me or the broken down piano at fault. The congregation clapped with delight when I finished because now they could say the benediction and go home. My mother was probably mortified, but she never said a word about that performance, and she never ever booked another gig. Hallelujah!

***

Several decades later I happily took piano lessons again and love playing now. It just may ward off Alzheimer’s disease plus, it’s a wonderful way to relax and relieve stress. One day I may be able to afford a big beautiful baby grand piano.

Weißer Flügel

To see and hear a player piano click on link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXXw5LIvD7Q&feature=c4-overview&playnext=1&list=TL3O-fIr03DKE

Images from:

  • fotolia.com
  • 123rf.com

Words That Kill

Tags

, , ,

Stress!  Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can be hazardous to our health.

6444428_sI’m sure you have been in situations where someone said spiteful things to or about you, and at that time, you couldn’t think of how to retaliate. Their words had a way of creeping back into your thoughts no matter how hard you tried to get rid of them. While fixing dinner, driving, working out, you just couldn’t stop thinking about pay back.

I almost caused a car accident one day when my mind was not on driving while mentally replaying the condescending and disrespectful words from a nurse in the doctor’s office.  Because brain fog was my companion in the office that day, I couldn’t think of a smart comeback.

Throughout the week, those stress producing words gnawed away at my peace of mind, flooding my body with poison. I was not in a forgiving mood or willing to turn the other cheek.  Many times I would be wide awake between midnight and dawn rehearsing put-downs.

Stress, caused by unkind words, can make you sick–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  Malicious words erode your self-esteem, self-image, self-worth and cut to your core leaving wounds that never heal. Stress damages the heart as well as the soul.

DialogueWords uttered that are deemed offensive, can even put your livelihood at risk (as being reported in the media lately). The internal frustration from cruel words has even caused eating disorders in the lives of those thrown off track by that destructive “F” word…FAT. Weight gain is often a by-product of callous words when someone finds comfort in food. It’s been reported that stress can worsen pain, elevate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.  Add to that list of problems sabotaging your health: impaired memory, GI disorders, insomnia, hair loss, to name a few.

We now seem to live in a culture that applauds mean, nasty, hateful words. We’re entertained by ugly words. If you sprinkle in vulgarity, you get a standing ovation. The young, as well as those who should be setting a good example, take great pride in spewing venom. It’s not just what we say but also how we say it.

Those brave souls who choose to say anything sincere, uplifting or heartfelt, are booed…or fired. Niceness, respect, empathy are not in style.  Bullying is on the rise inflicting lifelong pain. All too often, there’s another report about how, once again, heartless words precipitated a tragic suicide. Words really can kill!

Of course, not all stress is bad. Many everyday encounters can be the source of stress. The important thing is how we handle it.

Vengeance and stress were replaced by “peace that passes all understanding” when I decided to send the nurse a copy of the quote below to “speak” for me. The outcome was not in my hands.

“Be careful of your thoughts because they become your words.

Be careful of your words because they become your actions.

Be careful of you actions because they become your character.

Be careful of your character because it becomes your destiny.”

*Anonymous

I added a note to refresh her memory.

To my surprise, a few days later I received a note from the nurse…and one from the doctor. (I had not involved him.) She apologized for offending me and said she will be mindful of how she speaks to their patients in the future. The doctor assured me that this is not the kind of experience he wants his patients to have and he thanked me for bringing the incident to their attention. They both apologized again in person at my next visit.

THOUGHTFUL WORDS TO LIVE BY:

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”– Proverbs 12:18.

19214194_s

*Quote found in the blog “The Redo You Project” reblogged from “Midnight Thoughts” in a post entitled “Words, Once Spoken.”

Related post: “No Wheat, No Weight? — Part 2” (self-image)

Images from:

  • 123rf.com
  • fotolia.com

From Garden To Grave?

Tags

, ,

A tick bite caused a massive intestinal infection requiring a 10-day hospital stay that could have turned deadly. I’m sure I was bitten by the tick while working in my garden.  It became so embedded I thought it was a cancerous skin mole.  You may already know this by now if you had read the previous post “Growing Mole”. My intention was to hopefully spare you from experiencing a similar ordeal.

However, if you, like my sister, thought I had misspelled mole and was not interested in reading about how to grow mold in my garden, then my attempt at being suspenseful, as well as informative, failed.  So much for trying to tell the sequence of events in a “whodunit” style.

Lesson learned–sometimes catchy titles can backfire.

Culprit

Culprit

Image from 123rf.com

Growing Mole

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

“Hospital Calamities” or “How To Avoid A Hospital Stay” or “From Garden to Grave?”   Any one of those titles could have been used for this post.

11954021_s

Well, it’s that time of year again…springtime.  Many of you are so glad to get outdoors to commune with nature by gardening and working in the yard.  For me, springtime means, “Oh, no, here we go again!” Weeds keep growing in spite of what it says on the label of weed killer. The grass needs cutting long before I’m ready to fight with the lawn mower again.  Flowers stay thirsty. All sorts of worrisome things are lurking out there to cause you much pain, anxiety and distress: bugs, gnats, flies, mosquitoes, ticks, bees, wasps are just a few of the things waiting for you to come out of the house.  I always hope I don’t fall and break something while running from a 6-foot long black snake, but at the same time, so glad it’s not a copperhead.  Being in the yard can make you sick in more ways than one.

Breakfast with momI decided to plant flowers one year and they were beautiful…a sight to behold. One morning I opened the blinds expecting to behold that beautiful sight and it was gone. The deer had eaten those gorgeous blooms down to nubs–made me regret all those tears I had shed over Bambi’s mother years ago.

Fast forward several weeks…or a few months?

One evening, excruciating pain started in the upper right side of my abdomen and got progressively worse. It sent me rushing to the bathroom several times with terrible consequences at both ends and I soon passed out. When I came to on the bathroom floor, I was dripping in sweat and in so much pain, death was an option as far as I was concerned. Had to crawl to the phone to call 911, then crawl to the door to unlock it for them.

Now of the hospital stay:

Calamity #1

6240569_sWhen I got to the emergency room, I was given a shot of morphine for the pain. Within what was probably less than a minute, as the nurse was about to leave the room, I felt like I was about to leave this earth, but thankfully, I was able to call out, “Nurse, help, I’m dying!”  I felt paralyzed and I could not have pushed the call button even if I had known where it was. I went out like a light. When I came back among the living, my room was full of nurses and doctors with anxious looking faces. I often wonder if I could have died had I been unable to call out to the nurse.

Calamity #2

While still in the emergency room, after all the trauma and drama, x-rays and tests, an intern came into the room and sat down beside my bed. He calmly told me that I needed to have part of my intestine cut out due to a massive infection. This operation, a colostomy, meant that I would have to wear a bag to use for the elimination of my stool for the rest of my life. He said that a surgeon was on his way to explain the procedure to me. Then this bearer of bad news left the room and left me in a state of shock wondering what the rest of my life would be like. After what seemed like an eternity, the surgeon came and confirmed the diagnosis of a massive infection in the small intestine and said I would be in the hospital on IV antibiotics for several days. I asked about the operation and he apologized for any anguish caused by this misinformation, because there was no need for such an operation. (Anguish? That misinformation could have caused a stroke or heart attack!)

Calamity #3

19016980_sAfter several days in the hospital on IV antibiotics and a boat load of pills, one evening shortly after taking those pills, nausea set in. Within minutes I had to hurry and drag that IV pole with me to the restroom. There I became violently ill, passed out, then woke to find myself lying in a pool of bodily fluid that looked like brownish,   yellowish, greenish antifreeze–something that never should have come out of a human being. I pushed the call button and when the nurse came, her eyes widened in disbelief when she saw me soaked in that colorful mess. She called for aides and other nurses to help solve the mystery but everyone was dumbfounded.

After they cleaned me up and I got back in bed, they were about to leave the room when I had to call out, “Nurse, I feel like I’m dying!” (Again.) I just knew that my heart was going to stop beating. When I came to this time, they had taken an EKG (electrocardiogram). The next morning when my cardiologist came, he showed it to me and said that my heart had really slowed down. (The peaks and valleys were few and far between.) He had no explanation until I told him about the medication that was obviously meant for someone else.

HOW TO AVOID A HOSPITAL STAY

After ten days of this hospital misadventure I was discharged (to the safety of my home) with prescriptions for several antibiotics because I still had the massive infection. A few days later I saw my primary care doctor for a check up regarding the hospital stay. While in her office, I asked if she would take a look at the “mole” growing on the inside of my upper right thigh. It had grown to the size of a lentil and itched at times. (I knew I should have checked that thing out when I noticed it changing weeks before. It didn’t look like my other moles so of course I thought it could be cancerous.)

The doctor said it looked like a skin tag and that she could cut it off or refer me to a dermatologist. I opted for the dermatologist who said it looked like a skin tag to her also, so she cut it off and sent me home.

4785565_sWhen I got home, there was an urgent message on the answering machine from the dermatologist telling me to call her immediately. Upon returning her call she said, “What I cut off was not a skin tag, not a growing mole, it was a TICK!” (Yes, a tick…of course from my yard. See, I told you it was dangerous out there.)Who knew that something not even as big as the period at the end of a sentence, could sentence me to so much pain, distress, and possible death. Of course I had to start on a different antibiotic because those I had been taking for the past two weeks were ineffective for treating the infection caused by the tick. I was well in a few days.

TAKE HEED!

  • Checking yourself and family members for ticks is essential especially after being in areas where ticks thrive. It is important to remove the tick as soon as you find it. Early spring to late summer are when they really jump into action.
  • Check with your health care provider, pharmacist or go online for information on safe and effective methods for the removal, prevention and treatment of tick bites.
  • Don’t wait until you get to death’s door before calling 911 for help.
  • Be cautious when taking pain medication especially when your body isn’t used to it. If you’re in the hospital, make sure someone stays long enough to see if you will have a bad reaction.
  • Know what your medications look like and what they are for.
  • Every year, thousands of hospital patients in the US die from medical errors, and too many patients will suffer from serious and preventable mishaps.
  • Don’t trust others to always be diligent when it comes to your health.

But in spite of what could have been a garden to grave fiasco, I’m so thankful we even have hospitals.

GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR YARD WORK!

Images from:

  • 123rf.com
  • fotolia.com

A Joyful Noise

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

4997454_sThe day I sat down to write this post, I couldn’t concentrate because of the excruciating pain from a tooth that needed a root canal. Nothing worked to relieve that pain. Consequently, I turned to my best pain-killer–music. Yes, music! I put on my old school CD’s, meaning songs with a melody and lyrics you don’t have to decipher. For about three pain-free hours I had a wonderful time singing along with the artists just as if I had been there when they were recording. Now there’s nothing mysterious about this.  It’s nature’s way of releasing pain-relieving and “feel good” brain chemicals (endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine) resulting in temporary relief. It must be music that you like. Hearing music you don’t like has negative results. We are all blessed with these remarkable brain chemicals. But keep in mind, music doesn’t eliminate the cause of the pain and music won’t work on that need-to-get-to-the-hospital type of pain.

Music lets us–makes us–allows us to FEEL, it touches our soul.  Research has proven that music can excite the brain whether we’re singing, listening, dancing, playing an instrument, humming, whistling.

These same pain chasers also pull me through while playing the keyboard or organ. The challenge of practicing to play a song without making mistakes, rearranging a favorite piece of music, or trying to play a song by ear, makes pain run and hide while sending my mood skyrocketing. (By the way, don’t let a little kid hear you say that you can play by ear!)

Every human responds to music, even at a very early age. Children have a natural love of music. It’s no doubt about how soothing lullabies help babies relax and sleep better. It’s even been shown that premature infants have gained more weight and have lower blood pressure and a stronger heart when exposed to music. We have all probably watched those toddlers, smiling and clapping their hands, bobbing and weaving, while trying to dance with those little chubby unsteady legs.

"Watch this!"

“Watch this!”

"This is fun!"

“This is fun!”

"Start the music."

“Start the music.”

“Monkeys on the Bed” and “Old MacDonald’s Farm” never fail to bring squeals of delight from preschoolers, and flash cards take a back seat to singing the “Alphabet Song”. Remember how excited those teenagers were on Dick Clark’s “American Band Stand”? And Don Cornelius provided the “joy spotlight” for those showing off their dance moves on “Soul Train”.

Music not only makes us happy and reduces pain, it helps us cope with many situations and has a powerful effect on our body as well as our brain. No one is claiming that music cures anything or that it should take the place of medicine or treatments, but it can be a helpmate for all who need help. This is where music therapy comes in. With individualized care plans, trained therapists use music in a variety of ways to aid in the healing and rehabilitation process, in an effort to improve a patient’s quality of life. It’s not always meant to just entertain, and a musical outcome isn’t the goal. No sheet music, musical ability, or prior music lessons required.

Music therapy has been around since ancient times demonstrating that music seems to be good for what ails us. It’s used in many settings, including schools, hospitals, community clinics, nursing homes, substance abuse treatment centers, hospice care, and prisons.  From what I witnessed, it seems to have the power to transform some harden criminals into genteel gentlemen for a while.

Music can even change our brain by creating new pathways around areas damaged by stroke, tumor, or other brain injuries. In other words, the incredible brain can make a way when there is no way, as seen in patients with brain injuries or brain tumors who can’t talk, but with music therapy, they can sing! (See “The Wonders of Music”.) It helps stroke victims learn to walk, and some veterans with one limb find it beneficial in their effort to walk. Several VA hospitals are also using music therapy to help vets cope with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Walter Reed Army Medical Center recently added a music therapy program.

In patients with cancer, music can help them cope with some of their symptoms and side effects of their treatment, as well as reduce pain and anxiety, according to the American Cancer Society. Music can be a calming outlet for heart patients and decrease their blood pressure, heart rate and improve their breathing as stated by the American Heart Association. It’s been shown to even benefit autistic children by helping them communicate and develop social skills, giving them an opportunity to express themselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlaying the keyboard can be a godsend for the blind as they eagerly find the keys to make music. It’s been shown to calm the shaking, trembling hands of people with Parkinson’s disease. Easing the pain and stiffness in the hands of those suffering with arthritis has been demonstrated. An individualized care plan involving the keyboard can help a burn victim recovering with painful skin grafted hands.

Alzheimer’s patients, in every stage of the disease, can benefit from participating in all forms of music. Those who don’t even recognize family members and can no longer speak clearly, have been known to play the piano or sing their favorite songs–just like they did before their lives were derailed by the dreaded brain robber. (My mother was one of them.) Some can even be seen doing what’s called “the wheel chair boogie” when listening to their personalized iPod playlist while wheeling down the hall. It’s like they are being transported back to happier times when they hear what has now become those oldies but goodies. (See “The Wonders of Music”.)

8557756_s

The TV program “Nightline” featured a woman who had a double hand transplant. I would think music therapy could play a crucial role in her healing process. Robin Roberts, co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America” said that music helped her through the painful, debilitating bone marrow transplant.

Music can benefit you, too.  It doesn’t have to be tunes from yesteryear and you don’t need to have a problem to reap the benefits.  How do you feel when you hear your favorite music? It has the power to lift your spirits, calm nerves, help you sleep, chase depression, move you to dance.  How about dancing with your kids or grandkids? They’ll get a kick out of your old-timey moves, and the joy and laughter won’t come from any medication. Do you include music in your daily life? Let us know what music means to you.

I love music–country, gospel, jazz, soul, rock and roll, R&B.  It’s as nourishing as food and essential vitamins. Every day music allows me to enjoy the wonderful benefits of nature’s medication prescribed by the Great Physician–possible side effects: toe tapping, laughter, dancing, singing, happy tears.

bigstock_Woman_portrait_silhouette_with_13427765

Watch music therapy in action–Click here “The Wonders of Music”

Resources:

*type music therapy in search box at site

Images:

  • 123rf.com
  • Bigstock.com
  • istock.com

The Wonders of Music

Tags

, , , , ,

Musical Rainbow

From the post “A Joyful Noise”

youtube.com/the healing power of music

See using keyboard for rehabilitation and education therapy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv3BWfYnr2E

Note: You too can learn to play the keyboard, it’s not just for therapy.  If you buy one, be sure it is full-size with 88 WEIGHTED keys, meaning it feels like playing a piano.

See Arts and Medicine Institute:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WPJQbzRVOE

See Parkinson’s and music therapy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-5LdT9zHPM

See music therapy and aphasia (stroke patient):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_5verI-bj8

Watch an Alzheimer’s patient “come alive” when listening to music: http://ximotionmedia.com

Find out about Musicians On Call, a non-profit bringing live and recorded music to the bedside of patients in healthcare facilities

www.musiciansoncall.org/site/PageNavigator/home

Image:

Fotolia.com