Your Body on Music

36 days to go…

Here’s what is supposed to happen when you listen to a song.  First (and this is especially true if you are singing in unison with others) oxytocin is released.  Oxytocin is a hormone that increases trust between people, and should not be confused with the Oxycontin that Rush Limbaugh was using – and for the record how come no one talks about that anymore?  Just wondering.  In addition to the release of oxytocin, there’s an increase in Immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels.  IgA is an important anti-body that is needed for fighting colds, flus and other infections of the mucous system.  But there’s more… listening to music also increases both melatonin (which appeared to prevent skin cancer in mice) and seratonin (the sleep hormone). In fact, some crazy study showed that Techno music increases plasma norpinephrine, growth hormone (always wanted another inch)  and B-endorphin (natural pain relief) concentrations.  But there’s a downside to this immune boosting party.  It turns out that music can also increase cortisol levels (which isn’t good for the immune system, but probably good for my tendonitis). Cortisol is what activates our fight or flight mechanism, and explains why we tap our fingers, or our feet or even dance;  We have to burn off that excess energy.  However, the problem is that most adults (myself included) have been socialized to NOT dance after the age of say, 35 (I’m being generous).  When I dance my children are horrified and my boyfriend is embarrassed.  I’m too self-conscious to do it anymore, which is sort of sad because it would be fun to dance.  For as long as we’ve been around, music and dance have been used in tandem to forge social cohesion.  But I can’t help but think that from an evolutionary standpoint, I no longer need to dance with the tribe. I’m beyond that.  In fact it would probably be odd if I didn’t feel this way, which is the depressing truth about this whole Coachella Experiment of mine and the trouble with music in general, particularly as you get older…

The fact is, the mermaids stop singing to you.




2 responses to “Your Body on Music

  1. Wow! Have you been the fly in our car, conversation, or iPod? Did you see me dance my ass off just this morning, (I usually loathe techno) as my 7yr old girl’s scrambled eggs rocketed across the room induced by her fervent laughter?

    I don’t ever remember believing in mermaids until a few days when ago my baby girl questioned their reality. “Do YOU think they’re real?” I asked confidently, “No!” she adamantly stated. I was so bummed to learn she’s already losing her innocent imagination.

    Where else are you given carte blanche to eff your self-conscious self-if not at Coachella…Mermaids live to sing!

  2. Kristen Buckley

    I think my problem is that I think too much!

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