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Music Therapy Eases Pain, Lowers Anxiety During Surgery

Mozart may be the new anesthesia.

A study published by a quartet of researchers suggests that doctors can lower the pre-operation anxiety of their patients by using music therapy to calm nerves. The research, published online in The Lancet, suggests that the music therapy not only helped pre-surgery, but also was effective for up to four hours after surgery.

The results of the study were based on data from 73 previous studies, a body of work which, according to music therapy advocates, suggested that melodies and harmonies from a wide variety of genres can help calm nerves before going under the knife.

In fact, according to CNN, the studies showed that patients had “less pain” and even took “less pain medication” than their non-listening counterparts. Metallica, it stands to reason, could be quite good for your state of mind.

The researchers found that patients who listened to music either before, during or after surgery had less pain, took less pain medication and were less anxious after surgery.

Furthermore, the studies showed that no one genre was best at calming patients.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the study is that it’s not entirely apparent to doctors and music therapy advocates why music is such a big help.

Catherine Meads, one of the authors of the study, said she’s “hoping” that UK hospitals inform their patients about the powers of music.

We were hoping that hospitals in the U.K. might put something having to do with music in the leaflet that patients get to prepare for surgery.

The BBC reported that Meads herself tried the music therapy during hip surgery this past April. Her album of choice? Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Meads and her colleagues aren’t done with their research, tough. They’re scheduled to continue music therapy studies this fall at the Royal London Hospital.

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