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Study Finds: Music Can Get You High

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(Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

(Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

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Athletes know the runner’s high: that rush your body gets when you breech the body’s threshold and endorphins take over, killing all the pain and replacing it with a feeling of blissful pleasure. A new studyindicates you don’t actually have to do all the running to get runner’s high, however. Music can push your endorphin buttons.

Just listening won’t get the job done, unfortunately. University of Oxford psychologist Robin Dunbar and his colleagues discovered that performing music elevates a person’s pain threshold through the endorphin system.

High energy actives, like singing, dancing and drumming, caused an elevated mood and higher tolerance for pain as tested after the activity than low energy activities like listening. The scientists tested music performance in several interesting settings: a religious meeting with communal singing and clapping, a samba drum circle, dance classes, orchestral musicians and passive listening to music through headphones.

While drumming yielded a significant increase in the pain threshold, so did singing with vigorous upper body movement. So may we suggest coining a new phrase: karaoke high.

While sitting around listening to music might give you an emotional high (or low), the real endorphin rush seems to be found when you perform it.

-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local


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