Monday, April 29, 2013

Music As Medicine

Here's a short article based on a survey Daniel Levitin did of 400 scientific papers having to do with music as medicine. There's nothing really new, but it's a nice roundup of where we are.

. . . They found that music had documented effects on brain chemistry and associated mental and physical health benefits in four areas:

Management of mood.
Stress reduction.
Boosting immunity.
As an aid to social bonding. . . 

. . . One paper even compared patients at a hospital before surgery who were randomly assigned to either listen to music or take an anti-anxiety drug such as Valium. 
"People who received the music had lower anxiety levels than people who had the drugs and without side effects," Levitin said. . .

. . . Studies showed that slower music tends to be more relaxing than faster music, but familiar music is more relaxing, regardless of the type and tempo. That brings up an important point about the use of music in a medical setting, Levitin said. "Rather than the doctor saying, 'Oh, you've got depression — take two Joni Mitchells and call me in the morning,' I think what we need to have is recognition that people need to have control over what they are listening to.". . .

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