Music As Medicine
For this study, researchers at the University of Belgrade School of Medicine recruited 350 patients who had a heart attack and soon after suffered subsequent chest pain, known as early post-infarction angina. Half the patients received standard treatment with medication. The other half were tested to determine which type of music their body was most likely to respond to positively, and then received standard treatment plus regular music sessions. They were asked to listen to their musical selections for 30 minutes daily whenever it was convenient to sit and rest with their eyes closed. This continued for seven years after which the researchers reported that music therapy proved more effective than standard treatment alone for reducing anxiety, pain and distress stemming from pain. On average they found that anxiety among the music therapy patients was one third less than among those on standard treatment, angina was about one quarter less. The research team also reported an 18 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure, a 23 percent lower rate of subsequent heart attack, a 20 percent lower need for coronary artery bypass surgery and a 16 percent lower rate of death in the music group.
My take? These results are consistent with other investigations of sound therapy. Music can have a powerful effect on mind and body. When you listen to slow, calming music, your heart naturally beats more slowly, breathing deepens and brainwave patterns change. These physiological reactions are all components of the relaxation response.
Predrag Mitrovic et al, “Music as Medicine,” Presentation at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session, March 18, 2020
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