Epilepsy Talk

How Music Soothes Your Seizures | June 30, 2010

Music is food for the soul, the mind and the body. Great music, when carefully selected, can change our moods, energize us, calm us, improve our mental focus, lift us up spiritually, and help us become more healthy.

Not surprisingly, music has also been found to have a profoundly positive effect on people with epilepsy. In fact, one research study even found that when patients are treated with music therapy as well as conventional anti-seizure meds, as many as eighty percent of seizures were reduced by seventy five percent!

It may be because the brain doesn’t have any single center for processing music. Instead, the areas of the brain that process music are widely scattered. So, when the brain is subjected to music that is highly structured, such as Mozart’s Sonata for Two Piano’s, the brain process is actually aided. In fact, research has suggested that Mozart’s K448 piano concerto can actually reduce the number of seizures!

And amazingly enough, music played at a moderate or moderately fast tempo, without too many abrupt changes in dynamics (loud and soft) can aid in normalizing EEGs. That’s because it helps us to relax and ease tension, equalizing the brain waves. (Look for Concertos, Sonatas and Symphonies.)

Music can also change behavior. The right kind can turn depression into joy, anger to calmness, hate to love, and fear to courage. Beautiful music has an effect on all people and it can soothe and take away feelings of frustration and anger.

What Kind of Music?

What ultimately works in choosing music for healing is to select what you like and what helps achieve the mood or balance that you want. Relaxing music such as Mozart, Baroque and Classical music, can help to steady your conscious awareness and increase your mental organization. Music such as New Age, Romantic, Jazz and even “chill-out” music can stimulate Alpha and Theta brainwave states, leading to reduction of mental imbalance and stress.

When you want to relax or slow down your pace, start with music at a moderate or faster tempo to match your metabolism, and then gradually switch to slower and slower music. When you want to wake up or have more energy, start with slow, quiet music and then gradually switch over to louder pieces with a faster tempo.

For best results, do not listen to music for more than three hours at one time. If you find that you’ve had music playing for more than three hours, turn it off and take a break. The brain responds to variety and too much of any one stimulus produces a kind of fatigue and even irritation.

Ultimately, you are unique. Experiment with different types of music, and be aware of the effects each style of music has upon your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Listen to yourself. You are the ultimate guide and healer.


2/2/12: An interesting new article:  Music May Be The Key To Predicting Seizures  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255780.php

A group of network experts, musicians, neuroscientists, and computer scientists are collaborating on the treatment of epilepsy using music.

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  1. yes,,, when I feel totally overwhelmed and defeated,, I listen to Chopin,the Polinaise,,,
    or the sound track from the Rocky movies,,, the Eye of the Tiger!!! or the Ode to Joy !!!


    Comment by patricia moran — December 6, 2010 @ 8:36 PM

    • I LOVE “Ode to Joy!” That’s the custom ring on my cell phone for when my best friend calls!!! 😉


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 7, 2010 @ 7:40 AM

  2. We are starting a project to create and house music and resources for ways to reduce seizures.


    Comment by Jason — December 16, 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  3. SUPER Jason! Will you please keep us posted? We could put up a link, if that’s possible.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 16, 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  4. News from ScienceDaily — 6/15/12

    Musical Brain Patterns Could Help Predict Epileptic Seizures


    Recent resesearch has found that ‘glissando’, an upwards glide from one pitch to another, such as those found in classical music (example: Gustav Mahler) can actually help PREDICT seizure activity!

    Using notes of rapidly increasing pitch to convey intense expressions, researchers found these glissando-like patterns of brain electrical activity could be used to generate the anticipation of a seizure.

    Research is still in its early stages.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2012 @ 11:35 AM

    • Wow I never knew this. Maybe I should have stayed away from real loud 70’s rock and roll. I’ll be sure to share this with my support group, maybe it can help someone.


      Comment by Charlie — February 27, 2013 @ 8:00 PM

  5. Maybe your hearing would be better!!!

    Pass the news along…


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 27, 2013 @ 8:15 PM

  6. Coffee table jazz on spotify. I love it and It seems to calm me when I am having issues.


    Comment by Randy — July 2, 2016 @ 11:48 AM

  7. Jazz (and “folk”) do it for me!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 2, 2016 @ 1:18 PM

  8. This was a great article it helped a lot 😊💜


    Comment by maryleeparker — June 4, 2017 @ 10:38 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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