Music as medicine: studies show music mitigates pain

Posted on: August 13, 2018

“The idea that music can be medicinal has long been controversial, in part because promising research has proven difficult to duplicate,” writes Tom Jacobs in Wednesday’s (8/8) Pacific Standard. “But two new studies present compelling evidence that pleasant melodies can reduce physical pain. A systematic review of previous research finds solid evidence of such an analgesic effect. And a new study finds gentle harmonies can even ease discomfort among newborns….  The ‘umbrella review,’ published in the journal Early Human Development, analyzed results from 13 previously published papers. While the studies utilized a variety of methods and criteria, their results produced a clear pattern. ‘Most of the reviews found a significant effect of music on pain,’ writes a team led by Colombian researcher Juan Sebastian Martin-Saavedra. It concludes music should be considered ‘a clinically significant complementary therapy to be used for the management of pain.’… The study featured 80 full-term newborns between the ages of one and three days, all of whom were treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of University Hospital in Brescia, Italy…. ‘Musical intervention was associated with a significant decrease in heart rate, improvement in oxygen saturation, and reduction in the perception of pain,’ writes a research team.”

Posted August 13, 2018