Music can be a powerful source of healing. Whether working through physical ailments or mental health difficulties, music can play an instrumental role in a person’s healing journey.
From tackling the stigma surrounding mental health issues to reminding listeners they are not alone in the battles they face, check out this list of songs about healing ranging from pop songs to Christian songs.
And the Healing Has Begun – Van Morrison
“And we’ll say, baby, ain’t it all worthwhile when the healing has begun.” Van Morrison’s unique musical style of Celtic blues is at its finest with ‘And the Healing Has Begun.’ Soulful viola and dancing violin lift the song to new heights as Van Morrison takes a triumphant approach to overcome life’s hardships. Appearing on his ’79 album, Into the Music, fans and critics hailed this 8-minute hopeful song as the centerpiece of the entire project.
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
Biographer David Ritz was visiting Marvin Gaye in Belgium when Gaye asked him to help with the lyrics to ‘Sexual Healing.’ Ritz was known for his massive adult film collection, and Gaye was inspired to write the erotic track after Ritz referred to his habit as “sexual healing.” Though Gaye was known for several sexually charged hits, he came from a Christian family, which caused some personal turmoil for him as his suggestive songs became a huge success.
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Recovery – James Arthur
“I defined, I designed, my recovery.” X Factor winner James Arthur poetically compares himself to a “soldier at war” with his emotional debut single ‘Recovery.’ Released just after he won the UK talent competition, the personal track delves into the weight of the world he feels on his shoulders and how he is the only one who can pull himself out of a dark place.
Heal the World – Michael Jackson
Appearing on the pop artist’s Dangerous album, ‘Heal the World’ was the song Michael Jackson felt most proud to have written. He produced the track himself, which ended up being a popular song used for several different charitable efforts. A song focused on healing humanity’s atrocities committed against one another, it was played at two-year-old James Bulger’s funeral, who was tragically killed in Great Britain by two other boys.
Related: Enjoy these unifying songs about peace and harmony.
Healing – Fletcher
“The smoke ain’t gone, but it’s clearing. I ain’t there yet, but I’m healing.” Deemed “purposeful pop” by Variance Magazine, Fletcher’s single ‘Healing’ conveys a deeper purpose than most contemporary pop tunes. Backed by heavy, dynamic instrumentation, she offers a helping hand to those struggling with various difficulties. She tells them though they are not completely healed yet, they are on their way to a better life thanks to growth from pain.
In Repair – John Mayer
Mayer’s Continuum album contains several hits like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Waiting on the World to Change.’ A lesser-known but equally as powerful song on the track listing is ‘In Repair,’ a dream-like tune with an easy beat that finds the singer-guitarist wondering when his heart will be ready to heal itself. The minimalist organ intro and catchy single-note guitar riff set a solid foundation for this introspective number.
Heal – Tom Odell
British singer-songwriter Tom Odell tackles the poignant issue of loneliness with ‘Heal.’ In the personal song, he describes the feeling of wishing he had someone who would stop and listen to him so he doesn’t have to bear pain alone any longer. The emotional track appears on his debut album, Long Way Down.
Related: These songs for lonely people make great company.
Healing – Arlissa
A complicated, toxic relationship is at the forefront of Arlissa’s ‘Healing.’ The singer finds herself trying to heal from a broken relationship with a lover so she won’t go back to it. For the music video, she took a more empowering approach, using natural elements like fire to symbolize her growth and renewal after experiencing such an unhealthy relationship.
Related: Find similar songs on our toxic relationship songs playlist.
The Healer – John Lee Hooker
A prominent delta blues figure, bluesman John Lee Hooker was one of the first to electrify the traditional acoustic genre. He paired other subgenres like “talking blues” together with his amped-up blues songs to create a dynamic set list ranging from spoken word-style songs to rocking blues anthems. With ‘The Healer,’ Hooker welcomes Carlos Santana to the stage while he sings about how the blues continue to heal him.
Better Place – Rachel Platten
Before she reached international fame with her beloved empowering hit ‘Fight Song,’ Rachel Platten penned the hopeful track ‘Better Place’ after her move to LA. Her first inspiration for the song came from the sunlight hitting her apartment and giving it a beautiful golden glow in the afternoon. She also drew inspiration from her sister’s then-fledgling romance with her boyfriend, who would ultimately become her husband. Platten performed the song at their wedding.
Related: Check out the best songs about Los Angeles.
Fix You- Coldplay
Shortly after Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin began dating actress Gweneth Paltrow, her father passed away. While she was trying to come to terms with his death, Martin found a keyboard her father had bought just before he passed but never played. As soon as he plugged it in, the words to ‘Fix You’ began pouring out. The song ended up being an ode to Paltrow’s grief, with Martin offering a helping hand in her healing process.
Related: Here are the best songs to listen to when you’re sad.
Healing Hands – Elton John
“You gotta wade into the water. You gotta learn to live again.” Lyricist and longtime Elton John writing partner Barry Taupin tackles learning to heal from toxic relationships with ‘Healing Hands.’ In this upbeat song, images of being baptized are conveyed through the lyrics as John sings about giving heartache meaning by allowing it to teach you how to become a better person.
Heal Me – Lady Gaga
Resembling a personal prayer or plea to a higher power, Lady Gaga wrote the intimate track ‘Heal Me’ for the film remake of A Star is Born, in which she acted alongside Bradley Cooper. The powerful song adds an air of desperation to the tone as the pop star sings about drawing on a source stronger than herself to make her whole again.
Related: Listen to more songs from A Star is Born.
The Healer – Erykah Badu
A fan-favorite, this spiritually driven Badu track plays out like a drama, with several characters, including ‘The Healer’ and The Children. Earthy electronic frequencies are pumped through the R&B tune as Badu’s soft yet commanding vocals retell her culture’s story full of experiencing great heartache, revisiting ancient homelands, and experiencing a triumphant spiritual return.
Thank U – Alanis Morissette
Written after a trip to India, after years of non-stop work Alanis Morissette was finally able to take a breath. When she did, she was overcome with gratitude for so much life she had experienced in such little time. She explores all these experiences, both good and bad, with her hit ‘Thank You.’ Written in the key of C, the chorus is uplifting, with the progression ending on an F chord as her voice soars. This combination creates a moving and empowering experience for listeners.
Related: You’ll want to thank us for these songs about being grateful.
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
This might be one of the most iconic songs about healing. Drummer Bill Berry wrote ‘Everybody Hurts’ to extend a healing hand to those contemplating suicide. The lyrics focus on finding solace in that mental health struggles are not difficulties one has to go through alone because many are going through the same thing. Though lead singer Michael Stipe was known for his mumbling lyrics deliveries, he made sure to enunciate loud and clear for this single.
Related: This is one of our favorite songs on our tragedy songs list.
Healer of Souls – Switchfoot
An upbeat toe-tapper, ‘Healer of Souls’ is a classic rock and roll single. The uplifting track released on Switchfoot’s Where the Light Shines Through album centers around coming together as one and healing our individual problems to make the world a better place. The tune had a significant impact on fans of the group. They received letters from listeners who had just lost loved ones close to them, citing the song as one of the things helping them with their grieving process and emotional healing.
I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song) – Selah
A lone piano accompanies Selah’s emotional vocal deliverance for ‘I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song).’ This poignant track addresses the heartache and unique grieving process of losing a child. Amid the sorrow, Selah’s song serves as a symbol for learning how to carry on. With hints of gospel music in the melody, the lyrics in the second half of the song support this style choice. An underlying theme is God’s presence and ability to heal all people from the pain of a loss.
Better Days – Goo Goo Dolls
Let Love In, Goo Goo Doll’s 2006 comeback album, featured the inspiring track ‘Better Days.’ Written by frontman Johnny Rzeznik, the release of both the song and the album happened during the holidays in keeping with the single’s theme—Rzeznik contemplates what he’d like for Christmas. Peace and happiness are two wishes, with the devastation from Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War heavy on the songwriter’s mind while penning the track.
Detox Mansion – Warren Zevon
This cheeky rocker finds musician Warren Zevon experiencing life in a rehab facility. While many artists would take a deflated approach to the situation, Zevon summons comedic wit and a sarcastic attitude as he gets clean. Featured on his Sentimental Hygiene album, it marked the first project he worked on after getting sober.
Related: Head over to our addiction songs playlist.
Scars – I Am They
“I’m not who I was before. No, I don’t have to fear anymore.” Modern Christian-pop band I Am They lean on their Creator in times of pain and heartache with ‘Scars.’ Listeners can find strength and renewed energy within the lyrics, which focus on finding meaning through suffering. The band looks at hardships from a sobering perspective in this empowering song, reminding followers that each hardship brings them closer to God.
Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson
Indie-pop singer-songwriter Indrig Michaelson yearns for happiness with her highly licensed track ‘Be OK.’ Appearing on her ’08 album by the same name, the song has been used in multiple movies and TV shows like House Bunny and 90210. Famous brands like Ritz Crackers also licensed the tune for commercial campaigns.
Related: This is one of the best appropriate songs for school.
Recover – Natasha Bedingfield
“It’s not what we’ve done but how far we’ve come.” After the massive success of Natasha Bedingfield’s lively debut single ‘Unwritten,’ her next release explored darker personal themes while keeping the lyrics in line with a positive outlook on life. With ‘Recover,’ from her third album Strip Me, the song offers words of encouragement to anyone struggling with mental health issues.
Heal Over – KT Tunstall
“Pain is built to last.” This poetic track written by KT Tunstall deals with the difficult battles one faces while trying to accept pain and move on from it. Tunstall was originally born in Scotland and garnered much of her early musical inspiration while helping her father in his physics lab. ‘Heal Over’ appears on her debut album, Eye to the Telescope.
The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son – Rory Gallagher
“Seventh son of a seventh son, is it too late now that I’ve come?” An ancient legend originating in Europe postulates the seventh son born of a seventh son will possess special healing powers. This folklore tale is often covered in music, with bands like Iron Maiden and artists like Jack White penning tunes about it. Singer-songwriter Rory Gallagher throws his hat in the ring with this track, asking the healer if it’s too late for him to be cured.
Breathe (2 AM) – Anna Nalick
A stream-of-consciousness-style track from singer-songwriter Ana Nalick, ‘Breathe’ lyrics play out like an introspective diary entry. The verses focus on the different ways anxiety creeps into the musician’s life, while the chorus, “and breathe, just breathe,” stands as a gentle reminder to listeners to slow down when they feel overwhelmed. Despite the song’s mature outlook on life, Nalick was only 17 at the time when she wrote the hit single.
Related: This song features on our playlist of breathing songs.
Tell Your Heart to Beat Again – Danny Gokey
Listeners first heard Danny Gokey’s moving vocals during his time spent competing on the popular US competition show American Idol. Since then, he’s become a popular name in the contemporary worship music genre. With his motivating and comforting single ‘Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,’ he offers words of encouragement to listeners who are struggling emotionally. He reminds them our hearts are already healed, we just have to live each day within that healing.
Thank You for My Healing – Alexia Chellun
This soft, peaceful ballad thanks the universe for health and happiness. With a folksy voice in the same vein as 1990’s Natalie Merchant, singer-songwriter Alexia Chellun commands an effortless finger-picking guitar style as she delivers comforting vocal lines with this uplifting track available on her album I Am Grateful.