I think everyone can agree to the fact that music is food for the soul. No matter what our mood--be it happy, stressed, sad, confused, anxious--we find comfort in listening to music. Enough scientific proof exists that music is a great stress-reliever, but did you know that it can have a great impact on your physical health?
According to a new study conducted by the American College Of Cardiology, patients who suffered episodes of chest pain soon after a heart attack, known as early post-infarction angina, had significantly lower levels of anxiety and pain if they listened to music for 30 minutes a day.
The findings suggested that music, combined with standard therapies such as medications, could be a simple, accessible measure that patients can do at home to potentially reduce these symptoms and help prevent subsequent cardiac events.
For the purpose of the study, the researchers recruited 350 patients who suffered from heart attacks and early post-infarction angina at a medical centre in Serbia. Half of the patients were assigned to receive standard treatment, while the others started taking regular music sessions in addition to standard treatment.
For the patients who were to receive music therapy, they were first made to undergo a test to determine which musical genre their body was likely to respond to positively. They were given nine 30-second samples of music they found soothing, while researchers analysed their body for automatic, involuntary responses on dilation or narrowing of the pupils.
The patients then continued with their music therapy along with medication for seven years. At the end of seven years, the researchers concluded that music therapy was more effective than standard treatment alone in terms of reducing anxiety, pain sensation and pain distress in the patients.
These patients had anxiety scores one-third lower than those on standard treatment and reported lower angina symptoms by about one-quarter. They also reported significantly lower rates of certain heart conditions, including an 18% reduction in the rate of heart failure; 23% lower rate of subsequent heart attacks; 20% lower rate of needing coronary artery bypass graft surgery; and, 16% lower rate of cardiac death.
“Based on our findings, we believe music therapy can help all patients after a heart attack, not only patients with early post-infarction angina. It’s also very easy and inexpensive to implement,” said study lead author Predrag Mitrovic, Professor at the University of Belgrade in Serbia.
So if you want to stay healthy, don't forget to plug in for your daily dose of music therapy!
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