Why is music medicine?
By Tim Estes, Musician and author of the bestselling book: ‘I Married a Junkie’
Today in our blog we are going to discuss one of my favorite topics! We are going to discuss music! And we are going to discuss this in the format as to why music is medicine. There are numerous reasons why music is medicine when it comes to the addictions industry and the recovery community. Let’s start with the physiological reason as to why music is medicine. In the brain, we have endorphins and serotonin and all that kind of feel-good stuff that acts as what I just said, the pleasure center for the brain. I’m sure we all understand how the brain works and music reacts with our endorphins and serotonin levels much like drugs and alcohol or, better yet, anything that causes our brain to tell us that we are in a pleasurable situation. Have you ever listened to your favorite song and felt goosebumps or the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Well, this would be your serotonin level increasing and your endorphins telling you that this is a pleasurable situation listening to your favorite song.
So as we examine this physiological phenomenon, it is easy to see why music is very much a desired medicine when it comes to recovery. There are so many treatment centers and recovery coaches and therapists who use music therapy to calm their clients down and to distract the client from everyday triggers and pitfalls. Now, on the other side of the coin, I’m going to speak to the musicians. And I’m going to speak from experience as I am a 30+ year professional touring musician. Now a lot of people will come to the conclusion that being a professional musician put you in harm’s way because of the number of drug addict’s and the enormous amount of drugs that are in the music industry. However, Music is what saved my life and kept me sober! The rush of hitting a stage in front of thousands of people and creating good music with three or four other talented musicians is a rush like no drug can ever give. So I got to the point in my recovery where I valued stepping on the stage way more than shoving four or five bags of heroin into my veins.