A recent study suggests that music therapy may have beneficial effects on a patient’s psyche when undergoing a surgery and may even reduce the need for pain relievers after the procedure.
The recent study is a review of over 70 research papers that had analyzed music’s effects on roughly 7,000 patients. Nearly all data suggested that music also has anesthetic effects in nearly all situations.
Researchers reported that listening to music may reduce pain intensity following a surgery by up to 20 percent. Catherine Meads, lead author of the study and researcher at Brunel University, in the United Kingdom, explained what that improvement may mean on 10-centimeter long 0-10 scale, where zero is lack of pain and ten is the most excruciating pain one could imagine. She said that music would move the pain towards the bottom by two centimeters.
Scientists also found that all types of music had the positive effect. Plus, all medical procedures except brain or nerve surgery benefited from the unexpected effects of listening to music.
According to the new findings, even listening to music while doctors performed a surgery boosted the anesthetic’s effect and patients experienced less pain. Yet, the benefits were even more considerable when the patient was wide awake.
Dr. Meads acknowledged that the benefits of music in operating theater are either largely unknown or met with skepticism by medical staffers. But she hopes that that may soon change.
“We hope this study will now shift misperceptions and highlight the positive impact music can have,”
But the curative properties of music are long known by all different types of cultures. For instance, in Ancient Greece, the philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras advocated for “musical medicine” by recommending musical instruments with strings.
In our days, music therapy has many adepts and even dedicated scientific papers and a journal called the Journal of Music Therapy. Yet, the recent study is the first to prove that music has healing effects even in the case of those undergoing surgery.
Martin Hirsch of the Queen Mary University and co-author of the review paper recalled that the positive outcomes music may bring during surgery were well known since Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern-day nursing.
Dr. Hirsch added that he and his colleagues had to sift through the data of various small studies to prove that music therapy really works, and it is not just another placebo. Yet, the research team couldn’t find why music proved so beneficial in reducing pain and anxiety during medical procedures.
Image Source: Coloribus
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