Mu­sic eases pain, anx­i­ety af­ter surgery, study finds

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Lis­ten­ing to mu­sic be­fore, af­ter and even dur­ing surgery re­duces anx­i­ety and the need for painkillers, ac­cord­ing to a com­pre­hen­sive study pub­lished Wed­nes­day.

In a re­view of more than 70 clin­i­cal tri­als in­volv­ing nearly 7,000 pa­tients, re­searchers found mu­sic to be a pow­er­ful anal­gesic un­der al­most all cir­cum­stances.

On a scale of 1 to 10, post­op­er­a­tive pain was re­duced on av­er­age by about a fifth com­pared to stan­dard treat­ment, said lead au­thor Cather­ine Meads of Brunel Univer­sity in Uxbridge, Eng­land.

“If you imag­ine a 10-cen­time­ter line where at zero you have no pain and at 10 it is the worst pain imag­in­able, the im­pact of mu­sic was to shift the pain you feel two cen­time­ters to­wards zero,” she told AFP by email.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, the ben­e­fits held true re­gard­less of the kind of mu­sic or who se­lected it.

The sam­pling also cov­ered all types of pro­ce­dures ex­cept surgery on the brain or cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem.

Sur­pris­ingly, even lis­ten­ing to mu­sic un­der gen­eral anes­thetic re­sulted in feel­ing less pain, though the ef­fects were larger when pa­tients were con­scious dur­ing an op­er­a­tion.

“Cur­rently mu­sic is not used rou­tinely dur­ing surgery to help pa­tients in their post-op­er­a­tive re­cov­ery,” Meads said in a state­ment, point­ing to wide­spread skep­ti­cism among health pro­fes­sion­als.

“We hope this study will now shift mis­per­cep­tions and high­light the pos­i­tive im­pact mu­sic can have.”

The link be­tween mu­sic and heal­ing has a long history. The an­cient Greek philoso­pher — and mu­si­cian — Pythago­ras prac­ticed “mu­si­cal medicine,” fa­vor­ing stringed in­stru­ments.

To­day, mu­sic ther­apy is an es­tab­lished field, with thou­sands of prac­ti­tion­ers and its own aca­demic literature, in­clud­ing the Jour­nal of Mu­sic Ther­apy, pub­lished by Ox­ford Univer­sity Press.

But the new study, pub­lished in The Lancet, is the first to demon­strate the ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect of song and melody on those go­ing un­der the knife.

“We have known since the time of Florence Nightin­gale that lis­ten­ing to mu­sic has a pos­i­tive im­pact on pa­tients dur­ing surgery,” said co-au­thor Martin Hirsch at the Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don.

“How­ever, it’s taken pulling to­gether all the small stud­ies on this sub­ject into one ro­bust meta­anal­y­sis to re­ally prove it works.”

Tens of mil­lions of oper­a­tions are per­formed around the world ev­ery year, 50 mil­lion in the United States alone.

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