Doctors Unplugged

Musically gifted physicians play for charity and raise awareness of the power of song

There’s no question that music — whether playing or listening — makes people feel good. The relationship between music and health is physiologically complex yet spiritually simple: On the physical level, sound waves buzz the eardrums and bones of the middle ear, which cause your brain to decode the vibration and send an electric signal to your cerebral cortex, which governs thought, perception, and memory. The auditory cortex sends that message on to centers in the brain that control emotion, arousal, pleasure, and creativity. The hypothalamus takes the electrical hit, which, in turn, affects respiration and heart rate, as well as nerve endings in the stomach and skin. Anatomically, this explains why a certain melody may produce the sensation of butterflies or goose bumps.