According to the findings of a wide number of studies, human beings respond to music on a neurological level, to the extent that some medical researchers believe it is capable of eventually helping those who suffer from the effects of a stroke or other condition to recover. However, neuroscientists and psychologists continue to attempt to pinpoint exactly how music affects the brain.
In one study, scientists played music for patients who were about to undergo surgery and offered anti-anxiety drugs to others. They later asked the patients to describe their anxiety levels and learned that those who listened to music were less nervous than those given drugs. Other studies show that music helps people produce immunoglobulin A, an antibody that boosts immunity.
Proponents of music therapy say that it is easier on the human body than drugs, far less expensive and causes no negative side effects. There are several thousand music therapists in the United States who use music to help people release long-repressed emotions and overcome mental and emotional challenges resulting from injury or emotional trauma. These therapists hold degrees in their field, along with board certification. U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford experienced music therapy in recovering from a brain injury.