New Study Shows That Listening to Music Can Help Reduce Pain

Derrick Broze
December 5, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Zurich, Switzerland — A recent analysis has found that surgery patients who listen to music may experience lower levels of pain, anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate than people who do not listen to music.

The study, “Effects of Art on Surgical Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” was published in the Annals of Surgery scientific journal. Researchers with the University of Zurich in Switzerland analyzed data from 47 different studies over the last 15 years, including 26 that looked at the effect of music before surgery, 25 looking at music during surgery, and 25 looking at music during recovery.

The researchers found that 31 percent of people reported experiencing less pain while listening to music, 29 percent had lower odds of using pain killers, and 34 percent reported less anxiety. Listening to music was also tied to 40 percent lower blood pressure and 27 percent lower heart rate. These benefits for pain and anxiety greatly increased when patients were allowed to select their own playlists.

As many patients have smartphones with personal music playlists, informing our patients before scheduled surgeries of the positive effect of music on their wellbeing could be a low cost intervention that may enhance wellbeing and possibly faster recover,” lead study author Dr. Diana Vetter, a surgery researcher at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told Reuters via email.

Marianne van der Heijden, a researcher at Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children’s Hospital in the Netherlands, also told Reuters, “There now seems to be enough evidence to support the formal adaptation of music interventions in clinical guidelines.”

In June of this year, Anti Media reported on another study that confirmed the positive benefits of music. According to the study, conducted by the University of Queensland, Australia, “extreme music” does not cause anger in listeners, but rather, may help with processing.

The study, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, focused on “extreme” genres of music, including heavy metal, emo, hardcore, punk, screamo, and various subgenres. Drs. Genevieve Dingle and Leah Sharman studied 39 regular listeners of extreme music between the ages of 18 and 34.

The participants were monitored while describing topics that inspired anger or irritation, and then while listening to 10 minutes of songs of their choice. This was followed by 10 minutes of silence. The researchers concluded that metal music relaxed participants as effectively as sitting in silence.

We found the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions,” Sharman told The Guardian. “When experiencing anger, extreme-music fans liked to listen to music that could match their anger.”

Both of these studies are simple reminders that music is powerfully healing. When people find a song or lyric that pulls at their heart and being, it helps them let go of their daily stresses and neuroses. It brings them into the present moment and allows the healing process to begin. As Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”


This article (New Study Shows That Listening to Music Can Help Reduce Pain) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Derrick Broze and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Jason H. Smith. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

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