Music therapy for reducing surgical anxiety
Sounds are part of people's everyday lives, and they bring forth many different psychological and emotional responses. The shriek of a police siren might induce surprise or fear; a baby's wail might provoke edginess and irritation; and music on the radio might stimulate joy, happiness or even dancing. Music in particular affects people deeply in many different ways.
Studies have established that the use of music can be an effective technique in the clinical area due to its ability to distract patients from their pain and muffle the many sounds e.g. monitors, or alarms of a normal busy hospital. Researchers have confirmed that music that promotes relaxation can provide a noninvasive method of decreasing patients' anxiety and improving their emotional state. One study investigated listening to music as a method of reducing patients' anxiety during minor surgery with local anesthesia. The results showed that patients who listened to their choice of music during surgery experienced significantly lower anxiety levels, heart rates, and blood pressure than patients who did not listen to music.
Recent research has looked at physiological responses associated with musical stimuli. One study that investigated event-driven skin conductance responses to musical emotions in humans demonstrated that music was a powerful elicitor of emotion and might induce autonomic nervous system response. Emotional arousal caused by music in that study evoked and modulated skin or conductance responses.
Researchers also found that music can help reduce pain. For example, patients who listened to music and controlled their own pain with analgesia after gynecologic surgery experienced less pain than patients who only administered their own analgesia.
For more information about music therapy visit Dr Julie Trudeau