Kyra Garabedian, Anchor Contributor
Most people experience stress for various reasons in their life and have different ways of managing their anxiety. Unfortunately, for many college students this means turning to drugs and alcohol to ease stress. Many studies have been conducted over time proving that music therapy reduces stress and might be a safer alternative to drug usage. Recognizing music as a form of medicine can provide us with a healthier way to let go of things in our lives that cause us agony and help us cope with daily life.
Music has had a strong correlation with medical procedures and treatments since Medieval times. Madeleine Cosman writes about how physicians were once required to have knowledge in the field of music to provide effective treatment for patients. Although doctors of the Medieval period hadn’t made significant advances in understanding human anatomy yet, they believed strongly in the power of music in the medical setting. They understood that those displaying psychotic behavior, anger or extreme anxiety could be cured with music therapy. From very early on, the medical profession viewed music as an innate part of every human being and part of the soul.
In today’s more advanced medical world, studies have been conducted to measure the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) before and after listening to relaxing music. Studies conducted by George Dvorsky have been conducted in many different settings with a vast group of participants. The end result of these studies shows that the levels of cortisol drop for individuals who listened to relaxing music. One study centered around patients displaying anxiety before surgical procedures. The cortisol levels of patients who took anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium were higher than patients given relaxing music prior to the procedure.
College students always seem to be listening to music in their cars, while walking to class or even studying. The problem is what kind of music students are choosing to listen to. For music therapy to be effective, it must be calming to the person who is listening. Relaxing music is different for everyone, but it’s important to not select music that will induce further stress. It’s not about the popular music that everyone is listening to, but what truly makes a person feel relaxed.
Does music really have the power to stop college students from resorting to drugs? That seems to be a question even researchers struggle to answer. More and more research is being done proving that music therapy has short and long term effects on people.
Music has a powerful effect on humans from birth until death and so do drugs and medication. It’s especially important that college students who still have developing brains think twice about using drugs to relieve anxiety. With all of the convincing evidence for music therapy as a stress reducer, it should not only be taken seriously, but widely accepted.