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Music Boosts Recovery From Surgery

According to a new report published in the journal The Lancet, listening to music before, during and after medical surgery reduces anxiety, cuts down on patients’ pain and even reduces the need for painkilling medication. An investigative team analyzed data from approximately 7,000 subjects and determined that patients going for surgery should be permitted to select music they would enjoy hearing in order to maximize the benefits.


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The researchers also report that the music must not interfere with the surgical team’s ability to communicate during the surgical procedure. Co-author of the study, Dr Catherine Meads from Brunel University, London, England reported that patients undergoing surgery should have access to music. She stated: “Music is a non-invasive, safe and cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery,”

The research group gathered the data from all previously published randomized trials and conducted “a meta-analysis of them. They focused on how the music treatment compared with standard care as well as other “non-drug interventions” such as relaxation and massage and how these things influenced post-operative recoveries.

They found patients were markedly less anxious following surgery. The subjects also reported a higher degree of satisfaction after they listened to music. Additionally, they required less medication for pain and even reported having less pain compared to the control group patients who were not allowed to listen to music.

The results indicated that listening to music any time appeared to be effective. The study specifically demonstrated that there was a definite trend for better results if the subjects listened to music prior to surgery as opposed to during or following surgery. Finally, the results also note that patients who were allowed to choose their own playlist of music experiences slightly less pain and required less pain medication.

Study co-author Dr Martin Hirsch of Queen Mary University of London, England concluded that since the days of Florence Nightingale people knew that listening to music could have a positive influence on patients. “However, it’s taken pulling together all the small studies . . . into one robust meta-analysis to really prove it works.”

Music Boosts Recovery From Surgery

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.