Analyzing decades of data from more than 7,000 surgical patients, researchers have determined once and for all that music helps patients calm their anxiety before an operation and also reduces pain following the procedure.
"Besides individual music preference, specific features of the music intervention such as rhythm and harmony, and the use of specific instruments like string instruments, also seem important features in anxiety and pain reduction," the authors wrote in the British Journal of Surgery. " placebo effect cannot be ruled out as the studies relied on self‐reporting. It could be argued that a placebo effect is beneficial anyway, in this instance reducing anxiety and pain.
My brother, a transplant surgeon, used to enjoy listening to classical music (loudly) during long operations so it seems like this is a win for everyone.
"Although most of the music interventions used in the studies were bound by restrictions, such as slow, soft, relaxing music, the effect does not seem to be related to one specific type of music," the researchers wrote. "Moreover, it has been suggested that individual music preference is important to the effect of a music intervention."
According to lead author Dr. Rosalie Kühlmann, of Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital, in The Netherlands, "This result makes it now possible to create guidelines for the implementation of music interventions around surgical procedures."
And here's a previous study on the matter: "Scientists: Music makes surgery patients feel better"
(image source: Scope)