The consensus among these experts—scientific, therapeutic and musical—is that music is a vehicle for memories, emotions, healing and connection: physical, interpersonal and spiritual.

It’s the intention behind the music—carried in the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic syrup—that does the work.

“The key to it all is love,” says Krishna Das, echoing Uttal’s sentiment. “Love is the healing factor in everything we do. It’s what everybody’s looking for, whether they call it love or not. It’s the love that lasts 24/365. It doesn’t come, it doesn’t go, you don’t get it from someone else. Someone else can maybe uncover it in you for a moment, so it shows you where to look,” he says.

“But you have to look.”

Perhaps the hunt for love is what music—the right music— excites in us. Makes sense. Surely love has survival value.

So, can music heal your woes?

Can music mend a broken heart? Does it cause memories to return or muscles to strengthen? No, not lastingly and not directly. But, as part of a larger plan for healing, music does have a special role and should be part of your medicine cabinet of cures. When you continue the inquiry into music’s similarity to food (because of how it is received in our brain as though it has survival value), it makes sense that different types of music serve different purposes. Think of the music you blast to energize your workout or keep you pumped during rush-hour traffic as junk food – it goes down easy with an addictive quality. While “junk food music” may make you smile or sing out loud, it’s not necessarily a conduit for healing. Likewise, think of the music that reminds you of a teenage romance or holidays with your family as comfort food. It gives you a nostalgic, cozy feeling, but it’s not necessarily a path to healing either.

The type of music that can lead to self therapy is like a carefully crafted, beautiful plate of food that delivers fresh nutrition and delicious tastes all at once. It’s the type of music you select with intention, and it takes you to a deeper place of appreciation, spiritual connection and inner nourishment. That type of music is different for everyone and may change over time. But taking the time to identify your personal musical medicine may be the key to unleashing a new level of wellness wit