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  • Salih Gülbay

The Last Anti-Virus Recipe; Ginger, Garlic and a Pinch of Balcony Music

Güncelleme tarihi: 28 Mar 2021


Covid-19, or better known as the Coronavirus, came from far away waving his hand; Just a month ago, "Oh, have you heard, a virus has come out in China and they've covered everything?" Then, we suddenly follow the numbers, we talked about how we can get out of the house, under what conditions. Of course, there is no point in advising that “don't leave your home, social contact is certain”. I think that every individual who knows how to read and write has now grasped the importance of this. In Italy, the fifteenth day of the quarantine has now been reached, although people are used to the process of staying at home, seeming to sing songs from balconies, we do not know what is going on inside their homes. In any case, they gave examples of how "distant" socialization can be done, and that enthusiasm and joy do not disappear by closing behind the doors to the whole world in the first weeks. In this first article of my blog that was waiting for me for months, I would like to mention the role that our psychology plays in this process and perhaps the effect of music that we have not anticipated in those days.


Although I do not follow social media a lot, now I can stay up to date as all kinds of content can be shared in Whatsapp groups. One of the sharing types that caught my attention in this period is the prescriptions against Coronavirus. Of course, it is not for me to say that these prescriptions are unfounded, or have no effect, but no cure or blocking formula developed against this virus has been found so far. If there were, before the morning TV programs in Turkey, we would see those formulas in the World Health Organization's page. Although there is no formula developed against the virus, it does not hurt to consider the recommendations of some experts. Doctor Mehmet Öz, who is seen as a medical phenomenon in America and proudly followed by Turks, has many posts on the Twitter page against Covid-19 virus misunderstandings and unconfirmed prescriptions, the common recommendation of him and many experts are keeping our immune system strong. Of course, with the influence of the media and advertisements, when we think about improving the immune system first we think of thousand kinds of supplements sold in colorful boxes in pharmacies, but I think we should first focus on the resources we have to strengthen our immune system. Studies since 1980 show that our psychological health has an intense effect on our body and immune system and some recent studies show that music has an important role in this psychology and immune system relationship.


In studies between the years 1980 and 1992 at Ohio State University School of Medicine, they discovered that the immunity of students decreased each year in the simple stress of the three-day examination period. Besides, in nearly 300 studies conducted at the University of Kentucky until 2004, it was noticed that after a long-term stress period all aspects of immunity decreased. Therefore, long-term or chronic stress is one of the important factors that can destroy the immune system through too much wear and tear. Also, meta-analyzes at the John Hopkins School of Medicine showed that elderly or already sick people are more prone to stress-related immune changes. You can find many more articles and studies that show the importance of this situation in references. But for now, in this virus mess that has already stressed us, there is no need to get "Alas! I am even more prone to catching the virus when I am stressed." Instead of worrying and devastating ourselves, even more, let's focus on those beautiful resources we have. Family, friends, friendships, love, creativity, art, games, memories, stories, novels, enjoyable dinners, exercises at home, dances and of course music, guitar songs learned and forgotten many years ago, small home recitals and, freely sung songs …


After we explained all those effects of stress on our immune system with sound bases it won’t be satisfying to only say that the music is good for stress and the immune system. Meanwhile, maybe you might be thinking, “But, is music psychology or music therapy a science?” It is normal since it is relatively a new field, yet let’s postpone these questions with a quick "yes" for now. In my future posts, we will explore the depths of this topic together. Although they are relatively new, music therapy and music medicine are areas that are developing and even affects today’s mindset on many conditions. In 2013, Doctor Mona Lisa Chanda in the meta-analysis of 400 studies found that music improves the body's immune system function and reduces stress. She also showed in the results of her study that listening to music was more effective than prescribed drugs in reducing preoperative anxiety. In another study, researchers found that listening and playing music increases the body's production of antibody immunoglobulin A and natural protective cells, which are the cells that attack invasive viruses and increase the effectiveness of the immune system, also reduces the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Of course, there will be those who resist such ideas with arguments like "But I cannot play any instruments, I have no talent", but I draw your attention that most research focuses on the effects of listening to music. At the same time, activities involving active participation in music, such as dancing, keeping a rhythm to the music, following and singing the lyrics of a song that is playing, are as effective as music performance.

As a result, during the hard times when we are closed to our houses(hopefully) and save lives, while we take our green tea with ginger and black elderberry extract, instead of sitting and watching Netflix series for ours, we can give a chance to listen to music channels on the Internet, to learn and accompany their words, to take a few dance lessons online with our partner and even we can consider to take out the dusty guitar in a corner of the house to learn some chords. I hope that we will pass these days as soon as possible, and stay with peace and music.


References

American Psychological Association. (2006). Stress weakens the immune system. American Psychological Association.

Novotney, A. (2013, November). Music as medicine. Monitor on Psychology, 44(10). http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music

Abdurachman, A., & Herawati, N. (2018). The role of psychological well-being in boosting immune response: an optimal effort for tackling infection. African journal of infectious diseases, 12(1S), 54-61.

Kaplan, H. B. (1991). Social psychology of the immune system: A conceptual framework and review of the literature. Social Science & Medicine, 33(8), 909-923.

Dixon, E. (2018, December 3). If Your Cold Keeps Lingering, Doctors Think This Weird Unrelated Activity Can Help. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/can-music-help-you-get-over-a-cold-studies-suggest-it-can-boost-your-immune-system-13231417

Fancourt, D., Ockelford, A., & Belai, A. (2014). The psychoneuroimmunological effects of music: A systematic review and a new model. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 36, 15-26.

account, D. M. O. V. (2020, March 22). Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/DrOz?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

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