Can music be used to heal?

The Sync Project is helping scientists learn about the body's response to music.

Can music be used to heal?

It’s no secret that music has mood-changing power. It can also be used to enhance our concentration or increase our energy levels. How many times has a certain song triggered a fond memory or created within you a powerful emotional response?

The Sync Project consists of a group of scientists, musicians, tech-heads and product designers who want to discover the true healing power of music.

The group is researching the body's response to music, by pairing online and mobile apps with users’ wearable body monitors to track how their body’s respond to the music to which they are listening. The monitors record mood, focus, heart rate, arousal and body temperature levels.

These apps may one day be able to predict the best song to help you better concentrate, to give you more energy, or to relax you into a restful nights’ sleep. They may even have the power to heal, and be able to help caretakers of those living with autism and dementia, and patients with similar disorders.

Much research already shows that music has a positive effect on the brain, improving movement, learning, memory and emotion. It can also help with with pain, fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness, and even improve cognition after dementia or stroke, as well as relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

What The Sync Project wants to know is not only how music has such powers, but also how much more potential it may have to help with more serious conditions and overall health.

The Sync Project’s CEO Alexis Kopikis says music has helped his autistic son by helping him in to calm down and improve his communication.

“If we can figure out which types of music or songs calm him down, that would be so beneficial to [caretakers],” says Mr Kopikis.

At the moment, The Sync Project is not available to consumers, as the team still needs to make a few minor tweaks to the system before it is made public.

Does the idea that music is beneficial to your everyday health surprise you? Would you be excited in the possibility of music being a non-invasive treatment for more serious illnesses? Would you be interested in using this app and participating in such a study?

Find out more about The Sync Project.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    4th Jun 2015
    My BFF is a fantastic singer with her band. They play at pubs, clubs etc - mainly Rock and Blues. But she also volunteers her time at Nursing Homes where she sings all the songs that elderly people would be familiar with. I have gone with her on occasions, and to see these dear old people, most suffering from Alzheimers and/or Dementia enjoy themselves so much always brings tears to my eyes. Some of them never communicate at all, but when she sings a song they knew when they were young, they actually sing the words with her and clap in time to the song! Their mood improves, they are smiling and happy. So yes, I truly believe music is vital to a person's mental and physical health.
    4th Jun 2015
    Music is bad for this pensioner with time on his hands......started work in 1961, & a couple of years later music was really taking off with the Beatles, Rolling stones & later AC/DC + all the other Aussie bands....LOVE HEAVY METAL & LOVE IT LOUD, especially in the car when i am by myself, i have the volume up really loud. WhAt, it affects your hearing................ .............WHAT, I CANT HEAR YA.!!!
    4th Jun 2015
    Not savage beast FGS Savage BREAST! If your"e going to use it get it right.
    4th Jun 2015
    Sorry, toptony, where on this forum did you read that misquote?
    4th Jun 2015
    It's no surprise to me that music is beneficial to my everyday health - it's something I've always believed. When I listen to certain kinds of music I feel better. And if I feel better then I AM better.

    Music for me is not just songs. In fact, the music that affects me most is what's called "post-classical": composed works, with no lyrics, longer than three minutes. Concert music, perhaps. Computer music. Music composed with intelligence and design by composers such as Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards and Nigel Westlake, to name three Australian composers whose music invariably lifts me up. I also love a lot of songs, particularly by Lennon and McCartney (I am, after all, a child of the 60s), and a lot of singers, including Australia's Lior. And The Song Company, a group of six classically-trained singers who sing anything from medieval music to contemporary pop. And vocal jazz quartet The Idea of North: wow!

    Music rocks, even when it doesn't (folk music, for example). Music from our ethnic communities. Local bands like Chaika that tap into musical idioms from Macedonia, Romania etc. Orchestras that play works by Mozart and other classical composers and - all too infrequently - by Australian composers …

    Yes, music makes this old bloke's life far more pleasant and, I bet, more healthy.
    5th Jun 2015
    I'm looking forward to the day when the most requested songs in the old peoples home are Gimme Shelter and Purple Haze
    A. N. Onymous
    5th Jun 2015
    I submitted this comment yesterday, and it was printed. Somehow it has disappeared. Reformatted and resubmitted now.

    Open Culture – ” The best free cultural & educational media on the web” including (but definitely not limited to) -- check others including the links in:

    (a) the tabs across the top of the page (Audio Books, Online Courses, Certificate Courses/MOOCs, Movies, Languages, Textbooks, eBooks)

    (b) the tabs in the column going down on the right starting with “Essentials”

    (c) tabs in the column to the right of (b) starting under the advertisements and the “About Us” links with “Great Lectures”.

    I am not associated with the site in any way. I came across it a while ago and have found many links of interest re music and other subjects.

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