How many times have we heard someone say, "Music saved my life"? Usually this is meant in a broader or more figurative sense, but in one lucky fellow’s case, the meaning is quite literal.
According to CNN, a woman was able to save her husband’s life doing CPR to the music of a well-known disco song (‘Disco Tune Saves Man’s Life’). Thanks to a Public Service Announcement she had seen that recommended performing chest compressions to the rhythm of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees, Debra Bader successfully resuscitated her husband without the benefit of any prior CPR training.
This incident is such a powerful illustration of the ability that music and movement have to communicate things much better than words. Best practice in CPR is to perform chest compressions at approximately 100 beats per minute, but this means little to the average person. Because ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is such a well-known song (which, conveniently enough, moves at the exact optimal BPM for CPR) that most of us have danced to at some point in our lives, we are easily able to refer back to that muscle memory as a reference point for that speed.