Episode 007: The Power of Music [podcast]

Music has incredible power to awaken people with dementia, reduce pain, teach, and diminish emotional distress. Here’s how you can use music can enhance your life.  

(c) Voyagerix/DollarPhotoClub

(c) Voyagerix/DollarPhotoClub

Play Episode

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe in Stitcher | Subscribe via RSS

On Today’s Episode

Rhythm of Life – My Childhood dream wasn’t all it was cracked up to be

Tune-up Tip – Eating Fermented Foods (NOTE: beer doesn’t count)

Random Riffs – I Don’t Like This Song, but I’m singing it anyway

Feature Segment – The power of music


Rhythm of Life – My childhood dream wasn’t all it was cracked up to be

My family celebrated my father’s birthday by renting a lighthouse cottage in MA. When I got there, my sister told me that one of my childhood dreams was about to be realized.   I was going to sleep in a room with — bunk beds!


Tune-up Tip – Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are traditionally fermented – using lactic acid fermentation. Not fermented in vinegar. For more information, click here.


From the RealPickles site:

  • Excellent source of probiotics
  • Probiotic cultures produced during fermentation are known to have many health benefits

Why do we need probiotics? –We get so many antibiotics from taking medication. Much of our meat supply has been injected with antibiotics shortly before slaughter. All that antibiotic reduces the good bacteria in our guts, along with the bad. Need probiotics to bring the good bacteria back up to a healthy level.

How to Make Them

The method dates back to at least 3BC in Rome and China. Ingredients are mixed with sea salt and then left to ferment in a controlled environment. Some examples:

  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Carrots
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir

You can make your own with a recipe or a starter. Links:

Dr Mercola

Organic Authority

Nourished Kitchen

Can’t be bothered to do it yourself? Sources of fermented foods:

Real Pickles

Wise Choice Market

Some advice for getting started

  • Start small.
  • Do not heat them
  • Experiment and keep trying


Random Riffs – I Don’t Like This Song, but I’m Singing it Anyway

I have always disliked the song “Autumn Leaves”. After a recent rain and windstorm when a ton of leaves came down, completely covering the driveway and front yard, I thought of the song again.

Link to the original here

Here’s my changed version:

The autumn leave are stuck to the window,

They’re clogging the gutters, and choking the lawn.

They’re wet and heavy so I can’t blow them,

Oh how I wish that they were gone.


Feature Segment – The Power of Music

The film Alive Inside chronicles the revitalization of dementia patients when they listened to music. Filmmaker: Michael Rossato-Bennett. Social Worker: Dan Cohen.

Per Oliver Sachs, a preeminent neuroscientist in the field of music’s effect on the brain, music literally shapes our brains. It involves many more pars of the brain than we use for language.   Musical perception, emotion, and memory can survive long after other forms of memory have disappeared. Can anchor and reorient a patient when almost nothing else can.

Other benefits of music

  1. Music is an effective way to remember or learn. That is why we teach children using rhymes and songs.
  2. Music has great therapeutic potential for people with neurological conditions.
  3. Music’s form and structure can bring order and security to disabled and distressed children.
  4. Music can help reduce both the sensation and distress of both chronic pain and postoperative pain. Music therapy significantly reduces emotional distress and boosts quality of life among adult cancer patients.
  5. Music is shown to modify and regulate automatic systems such as: heart rate, respiration rate, perspiration and other automatic systems

A five-year study done by the University of California at San Francisco in 2013 found that people who sang in a community choir increased health, reduced prescription medicines, visited the doctor less, and had less depression than the control group.

How You Can Help Yourself

  1. Create a customized playlist for yourself. .
  2. Listen to your playlist now to reduce stress or pain, heal from surgery, deal with grief, regulate your body’s systems.
  3. Experiment with different types of music for different reasons

How You Can Help Others

  1. Go to the Music and Memory Website.  You can donate funds, used iPods.
  2. Create a customized playlist for your loved one. Free download with instructions at this link.

 Question:  What songs will be on your personal playlist?  Click here to leave a comment.


Alive Inside – the story of Henry

Alive Inside the Movie – Amazon Link

–Also available in Netflix and iTunes


Benefits of Singing

Reduce Stress with Music

The Power of Music to Reduce Stress


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ruth R. Hartunian-Alumbaugh

    I love this topic. It is near and dear to my heart. Some day, I want to talk with you on your podcast about it further. There is much to be gleaned! :)

    • Kathleen Thompson

      Indeed there is, Ruth.

  • Great episode Kathleen. What a fantastic-sounding podcast you have!

    • Kathleen Thompson

      Thanks, Ray. I’m honored that you listened.