“One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
Judging from the quote above, Bob Marley was part poet, part scientist. That’s because there’s truth to his head-bobbing lyrics from the song Trenchtown Rock. Research suggests that music not only helps us cope with pain — it can also benefit our physical and mental health in numerous other ways.
RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT MUSIC CAN…
1. Ease pain.
2. Motivate people to bike harder
3. Improve running motivation and performance
4. Increase workout endurance
5. Speed up post-workout recovery
6. Improve sleep quality
7. Help people eat less
8. Enhance blood vessel function
Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine (an area of healthcare that focuses on preventing and relieving the suffering of patients). A study of healthy male college students found that, while riding stationary bicycles, the participants worked harder while listening to fast music. Not only this Listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise session. One study found that playing soft music (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting (perhaps because slowing down helps them to be more mindful of fullness cues). Scientists have found that the emotions patients experience while listening to music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function. Music both made study participants feel happier and resulted in increased blood flow in their blood vessels.
1. Reduce stress
2. Induce a meditative state
3. Relieve symptoms of depression
4. Elevate mood
5. Improve cognitive performance
6. Help people perform better in high-pressure situations
7. Reduce anxiety as much as a massage
8. Relax patients before surgery
9. Ease stress after surgery
10. Elevate mood while driving
11. Help cancer patients manage stress and anxiety
12. Ease recovery in stroke patients
There’s no doubt that listening to your favourite music can instantly put you in a good mood. But scientists are now discovering that music can do more for you than just lift your spirits. A new study from Austria’s General Hospital of Salzburg due to be published in The Vienna Medical Weekly Journal could hold the key to back pain. In the study, 65 patients aged between 21 and 68 with chronic back pain after back surgery were divided into two groups.
One group received standard medical care and physiotherapy. The other group also listened to music and received visualisation classes for 25 minutes every day for three weeks. Results found that the group who listened to music and used imagery experienced better pain relief than the group who did not.
Clinical psychologist Franz Wendtner who led the study says: ‘Music is an important part of our physical and emotional wellbeing – ever since we were babies in our mother’s womb listening to her heartbeat and breathing rhythms.
‘Listening to music for about 25 minutes everyday for at least ten days can help prevent back pain and also make you sleep better.’