The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is currently on hiatus. We plan to be back soon!
In part 3 of a discussion on music with Grammy Award winning producer Barry Goldstein, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen focus on the healing power of music. This episode will give insight into how musical nourishment can change the lives of stroke victims, people who struggle with Aphasia, and even those with Alzheimer’s Disease. You will also learn about autobiographical songs, and how to take a “5 minute musical vacation” to travel the world.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We are here with Barry Goldstein, author of The Secret Language of the Heart. Phenomenal book that I actually gave a wonderful endorsement to. Also the creator and co producer with me of The Brain Warrior's Way, music album that charted as number two on the New Age-
Tana Amen: You love saying that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Billboard List. I do. I am so proud of it and-
Barry Goldstein: So am I.
Dr Daniel Amen: proud that it has gotten out to the world in a big way because music heals. And that's what we're gonna talk about in this podcast. Music is healer. And I'm sitting here and I've written about it, I've read your book and I've thought about it a lot but I just think your brain really plays the symphony of your life. And I have all sorts of ways to change the brain. We have something called hyperbaric oxygen-
Barry Goldstein: Another thing called transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Dr Daniel Amen: Audio-visual stimulators. And it's a huge part of neuroscience now. Brain stimulation, and I'm like, Well, you can do that with music! You can change your state almost immediately-
Tana Amen: Absolutely.
Dr Daniel Amen: with music. And so, let's just talk about healing the brain with sound. And healing the brain with what you listen to.
Tana Amen: And you mentioned something before we came on the air about, even to go so far as stroke patients.
Barry Goldstein: Yes.
Tana Amen: Like that's really fascinating.
Barry Goldstein: Yeah, within stroke patients, a lot of times, the motor coordinations are not effective in terms of movement, so there's what's called "temp". And it basically is creating movement where you teach them how to play on a piano specific scales. So it's actual musical performance that is basically done with patients. Now, of course they're not being trained to be concert pianists.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Barry Goldstein: But they're using that to improve motor skills-
Tana Amen: Interesting.
Barry Goldstein: -with it. And they're finding that's been very effective in terms of that. And in addition, when we're talking about stroke aphasia as well, in terms of affects our speech, our linguistics. And so we can reteach with music, linguistics as well, by teaching melodic intonation. It's the ability to relearn music through specific songs. You might not be able to talk, but you can sing "Happy Birthday".
Tana Amen: That's so fascinating! Really?
Barry Goldstein: Denise's mom actually had a stroke and she was able to still sing. So they're reteaching people who have aphasia how to speak again using intonation therapy.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, for people who don't know, aphasia's just a language disorder.
Barry Goldstein: That's right.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, if you damaged. for most people it's the left front side-
Dr Daniel Amen: -of the brain, they then either lose language or have a lot of trouble with it. But music will actually trigger a different part of the brain.
Tana Amen: That's fascinating!
Barry Goldstein: And music has the ability to create neuroplasticity, so there's pathways that music can open that you normally wouldn't get to, like language, by teaching someone to speak without music. Music actually, it's a different route to the brain, where it reorganizes the neural networks and has the ability to reconnect and reteach language. And there's some really beautiful videos on that, of people who have gone through these methods. If you go to YouTube and you type in "music" and "aphasia", you will see how people retaught themselves to speak again through music.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr Daniel Amen: And also with Alzheimer's. Talk about your experience there.
Barry Goldstein: Well, with Alzheimer's, it's really been amazing. It's where you have to thank technology. In a way, because we have the ability to create these playlists and walk around with them. In the '50s, we had jukeboxes that we played our favorite songs on. But now we have iPods, iPads, and even little mp3 players that can hold our favorite music. And, with Alzheimer's, they have found that, again, preferred music can work with re invoking autobiographical memories.
Tana Amen: Oh wow. Please don't tell me I have to play Cat Stevens.
Barry Goldstein: Well, some things we don't want to-
Dr Daniel Amen: You mean if I get demented?
Tana Amen: Let's not have you get demented, but-
Dr Daniel Amen: We're working on that.
Barry Goldstein: Right, so for instance, if I went to see my dad and he had Alzheimer's, and I said, "Dad, you remember Hanukkah in 1975 wasn't that awesome." And he might not be able to remember that. But, if I played "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel"-
Barry Goldstein: on his mp3-
Tana Amen: That's fascinating.
Barry Goldstein: he has-
Tana Amen: Like it'll bring back.
Barry Goldstein: a chance to remember it. Right.
Tana Amen: So, hence - let me be clear, I don't have anything against Cat Stevens - '70s music. It's the memories. It's the memories it invokes.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right, so music - and that's something we haven't talked about - is when I listen to a certain song, it connects to-
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: that time in my life. And it may connect to someone I've lost and then make me really sad.
Tana Amen: Right, that's me. A whole genre of music makes me anxious.
Barry Goldstein: Right, and that's the thing. It's not gonna be the same for each person. And sometimes it takes us by surprise when we hear a song that we don't like because it triggers negative memories.
Tana Amen: Right, and it happens fast.
Barry Goldstein: Right, so you don't want to put those songs in your playlist if they create-
Tana Amen: So, know the person.
Barry Goldstein: Yeah. Know the person. Each person's completely different. It's just, you might like broccoli. I like to compare music to food, because I think of it as musical nourishment. You're gonna bring into your body what is good for you and you react well to. So you might love broccoli, but I might be allergic to it. So, yes, we know broccoli contains all these wonderful vitamins, but-
Tana Amen: But it's not for everybody.
Barry Goldstein: It's not for me. So, with that, we really need to become our own experts. And you guys have talked about it quite a bit throughout this. For me, it really does start with one song. So, if you can find that one song that makes you happy, that's an unbelievable start. I had a person who came to me and said, "I have extreme anxiety. What music would you suggest?" And I looked at her and I said, "What songs do you listen to, that when you hear it, you can't help but being happy?" And she looked at me and I can see her doing what you're doing. Her eyes-
Tana Amen: Right, you know instantly.
Barry Goldstein: were smiling. She was hearing it in her head already.
Tana Amen: I was too.
Barry Goldstein: And she was shifting from the anxiety.
Dr Daniel Amen: What was the song?
Barry Goldstein: It was Greensleeves.
Barry Goldstein: So, I said-
Dr Daniel Amen: What were you thinking?
Tana Amen: Do you really want me to say it?
Dr Daniel Amen: I do.
Barry Goldstein: Cat Stevens.
Tana Amen: Pour Some Sugar On Me.
Barry Goldstein: There you go. That might be your new happy song then.
Dr Daniel Amen: That comes from Brain Warrior's Way creator, Pour Some Sugar On Me.
Tana Amen: What can I say? Nickelback, Def Leppard, that's my happy place.
Barry Goldstein: And I talk about this in colleges when I go to talk to college students about the power of music. I said, "Whatever that song is, remember it. Write it down, because that might be your lifeline in 50 years from now if you're going through Alzheimer's." Because that happy song really allows you to connect-
Dr Daniel Amen: Autobiographical songs. We have to write them.
Barry Goldstein: That's right. That defines you.
Dr Daniel Amen: Autobiographical songs. So, what songs when you were young, what songs when you were in college. You could actually develop a whole treatment system depending on what made you happy. And, in addition, you could develop an attack system to find those songs that trigger unhappy places for you. So, depending on how devious you are ... Right? I mean, we're healers for the most part, but music is powerful in a positive way. But it can also be destructive in a negative way.
Barry Goldstein: That's absolutely true. It can create dissonance, just like it can create harmony. What's really awesome, though, is there have been studies that have shown that even thinking about that song has positive effects-
Tana Amen: Yeah, just like I was just smiling.
Barry Goldstein: -on your brain. Your brain doesn't know the difference between hearing it and actually thinking about it.
Dr Daniel Amen: Because we can play it in our head.
Barry Goldstein: You can play it in your head.
Tana Amen: The second you said that, my brain went to creating the song.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right, in fact, do you know why people get stuck on thoughts? They get the thought and they can't let it go? I hear that all the time from my patients. And I think their basal ganglia probably is overactive and it hooks onto a song and ... For me, I'm happy with the song getting stuck in my head, but for many people, it's really irritating.
Barry Goldstein: Yeah, and I think we need to basically have tools that we can plug into our day. So, when we're experiencing that, I love a midday break to ... I call them "five minute music vacations". So, I listen to a piece of music, I'll go on YouTube, and I'll want to hear something I've never heard from a different country.
Tana Amen: Oh, interesting.
Barry Goldstein: I will go and type in, "Beautiful music from the orient."
Barry Goldstein: Or "Beautiful music from Spain." And it's so cool, because you can take a five minute vacation. And, as soon as you hear that music, you feel like you've taken a trip. And you come back to your environment, if you're in front of a computer all day, feeling that you're refreshed.
Tana Amen: That's funny, because we were stuck in horrible traffic coming home yesterday, my daughter and I. And she was actually taking voice lessons. And, so we were coming back from Los Angeles, stuck in traffic, and we started listening to music, kinda got bored with the same old playlist after a couple of hours. So I had her put Enrique on, and we were listening to all of his songs in Spanish. And she looked at me and she said, "This makes me want to salsa." So what you're saying is exactly true. It just puts you in a whole different kind of place.
Barry Goldstein: Right. And when you're listening to music that's a different language and you don't understand the words, you really have no choice but to listen more to the music, because you're not interpreting or analyzing the lyrics of the song. So it takes your brain in a different direction than when you're listening to lyrics as well. So, take a five minute vacation.
Tana Amen: It was fun. Didn't even think about that, but that was a fun thing.
Dr Daniel Amen: So you can go around the world, you can go to Bali today just by the playlist.
Tana Amen: [inaudible 00:10:44] to go out of the country on vacation. It's not gonna work.
Dr Daniel Amen: It's the ongoing discussion between us.
Tana Amen: Oh, yes. Vacations.
Dr Daniel Amen: Where do you want to go? Italy! I've always wanted to go to Italy.
Barry Goldstein: So Daniel is just gonna create a playlist for ...
Tana Amen: No, and then he puts movie on. Like he'll watch Braveheart and go, "I've already been to Scotland." And I'm like, "No!"
Barry Goldstein: It's close.
Dr Daniel Amen: So many things we could talk about. But we're here with Barry Goldstein. He's the author of The Secret Language of the Heart, available on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, anywhere you can get amazing bestselling books. Also, the creator and co producer of The Brain Warrior's Way that we did together - music to help you sleep, music to help you focus, music for motivation, creativity, relaxation. We're so proud of it. We're beginning to work on a new album called Memory Rescue.
Barry Goldstein: We're excited.
Dr Daniel Amen: That we're really excited about because music can be healing. We want you to use it that way in your life so that you become the DJ of your own life and you create the symphony in your head that makes your life meaning, purpose, and happiness happen.
Tana Amen: I love that. So much fun having you.
Barry Goldstein: Thank you! I just want to say one thing before we go. For me, it's really important that people know the practical aspects of it as well. And I think the reason why it's called The Secret Language of the Heart is because my belief is, each one of us has something unique and beautiful that we're here to share. A gift of some kind. And when we're not spending our energy effectively because we have insomnia, or because of physical challenges, but we don't always have the time, or we're in fear because we don't know what's going on with our physical health, we don't always have the energy to spend on the things that we are here to do or things that are here to create. And that's what it's really about, it's about music being the vehicle so that you have more energy, you have an increase in your quality of life so that you can focus on what you're here to do, what your purpose is.
Tana Amen: I love that.
Barry Goldstein: And that, for me, is really the important message as well today. Go out there, get more energy, use a music program so that you really can share whatever it is that you would love to share.
Tana Amen: I think that's fantastic. And I think it's so appropriate and true. So, thank you.
Barry Goldstein: You're welcome. Thank you both for having me. Thank you for your amazing work and all that you're pioneering.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you, my friend. Stay with us. You're listening to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast.