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Body in Tune: Music and the Immune System

Stress is everywhere. From paying bills on time to meeting important deadlines at work - acceptable stress levels motivate you to get tasks done. But too much stress - and for too long - can lead to detrimental health effects, both mental and physical. In this post, we'll explore the effect of stress on the immune system and how music can reduce the impact of unhealthy stress on the immune system.

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The study results indicate dementia can lead to negative health effects in caregivers, reducing their immune systems’ efficiency and making them more susceptible to illness. In previous posts, we’ve shown how music can alleviate the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's - music could also potentially help the caregivers reduce stress and boost their immune system.

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While these studies use one marker of the stress response, cortisol, they suggest that music’s ability to blunt the hormonal stress response could act help counteract later immune dysfunction. The immune system is essential to functioning at our fullest potential every day, and any compromise could lead to further disease susceptibility. As mentioned in a previous article, the health benefits of music doesn't stop at supporting the immune system. Music can play an important role in health including getting better sleep, improving focus and motivating you to power through a workout. If you're looking for ways to reduce your stress with music, you could try Unwind.ai, a personalized music intervention designed to help you relax before sleep. 

Listening to music is a quick, easy way to reduce stress and, in doing so, keep your immune system humming along! 

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References

 

1. Bergland, Christopher. "Cortisol: Why “The Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1." Psychology Today, 22 Jan. 2013, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1.

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2. Segerstrom, Suzanne C., and Gregory E. Miller. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.” Psychological bulletin 130.4 (2004): 601–630. PMC. Web. 16 Aug. 2017.

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3. Ronald Glaser, and Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser. "Stress-induced Immune Dysfunction: Implications for Health." Nature Reviews Immunology 5.3 (2005): 243-251. Web.

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4. Irwin, Michael R. et al. “Effects of a Behavioral Intervention, Tai Chi Chih, on Varicella-Zoster Virus Specific Immunity and Health Functioning in Older Adults.” Psychosomatic Medicine 65.5 (2003): 824–830.

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5. Kasl, Stanislav V., Alfred S. Evans, and James C. Niederman. “Psychosocial Risk Factors in the Developmental of Infectious Mononucleosis*.” Psychosomatic Medicine 41.6 (1979): 445–466.

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6. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. et al. “Chronic Stress Alters the Immune Response to Influenza Virus Vaccine in Older Adults.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 93.7 (1996): 3043–3047.

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7. Vedhara, K. “Chronic Stress in Elderly Carers of Dementia Patients and Influenza Vaccine.” The Lancet 353.9168 (1999): 1970.

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8. Marucha, Phillip T., Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, and Mehrdad Favagehi. “Mucosal Wound Healing Is Impaired by Examination Stress.” Psychosomatic Medicine 60.3 (1998): 362–365.

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9. Khalfa, Stephanie & Dalla Bella, Simone & Roy, Mathieu & Peretz, Isabelle & Lupien, Sonia. (2003). Effects of Relaxing Music on Salivary Cortisol Level after Psychological Stress. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 999. 374-6. 10.1196/annals.1284.045.

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10. Leardi, S., Pietroletti, R., Angeloni, G., Necozione, S., Ranalletta, G. and Del Gusto, B. (2007), Randomized clinical trial examining the effect of music therapy in stress response to day surgery. Br J Surg, 94: 943–947. doi:10.1002/bjs.5914