October 25, 2014 8:59 pm
Updated: October 26, 2014 9:05 am

Music for your health: The power of musical therapy

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WATCH ABOVE: Carolyn Kury de Castillo has one man’s story about how music gave him back his life.

CALGARY- They say music can “soothe the soul” but it turns out, it may be capable of a lot more than that.

A conference in Calgary Saturday explored the therapeutic power of music.

Music has always been a big part of Jason Crigler’s life. In fact, it helped give him back his life after suffering a stroke that nearly killed him.

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”In the beginning there were doctors who said Jason isn’t going to live through the night then they said he’s not going to walk again he’s not going to be the same guy,” Crigler said.

Ten years ago, the American musician started his long recovery. He has little memory of two whole years of his life.

“We could play music that we knew he wanted to hear, we saw that the music would have a calming effect on him or it would get him pumped for a physical therapy session. We also use it to communicate with him,”

Through a combination of family commitment and physical and music therapy, Jason is now performing at the U of C for part of a conference on the health benefits of music.

“I was determined to get back to playing music, it was a huge motivation for me to keep going. Through the muck of the daily toil of the grind of doing exercises and seeing doctors but seemed unending, I had this thing that I was excited about.”

But it’s not just people with ailments who can benefit from music.

“Music can actually decrease our blood pressure, it can change the hormones in our system so we can both start dopamine and increase our serotonin you can make us feel more connected because of the oxytocin that’s released in our system just by listening to music.”

Calgary music therapist Jennifer Buchanan says if there is a typical time in your day you feel stressed, try listening to calming music that puts you in a better place, just before that time.

“But what can be really beneficial for our health is to have a play list that is defined that is actually labeled by the emotional state you hope to achieve.”

“I like to say that music finds the healthiest parts of us and then it can make those parts a little bit bigger. on days when maybe we don’t feel there’s a lot of healthy parts to us.”

Jason has far surpassed the expectation of doctors. Now he writes songs about the music that helped transport him from a hospital bed, to a return to the stage.

For more information, visit the Calgary music care conference website. 

 With files from Carolyn Kury de Castillo. 

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