December 2, 2023

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You should listen to this music to feel less pain

You should listen to this music to feel less pain

Nice tune in the background or sing along with your favorite songs, music plays an important role in our life. But it’s not just something we enjoy, it can also help us feel less pain. Cheap pain reliever.

Canadian researchers have done… Inquiry now What type of music is most suitable for this and discover something cool. “Participants’ favorite music had a much greater effect on acute pain than unknown relaxing music,” says researcher Darius Valevicius of Harvard University. McGill University. “We also discovered that the emotional response to music plays a very important role in reducing pain.”

A cup of tea against your skin
The participants’ pain response was stimulated by using heat on the inside of the forearm, which resembles a hot cup of tea placed on the skin: extremely painful. They simultaneously heard music that lasted for approximately seven minutes. “We invited a number of healthy participants to our laboratory. There they heard all kinds of music, while we caused pain through controlled thermal stimulation,” Valevicius explains. “Participants had to rate their pain as well as different aspects of their emotional response to the music. We also asked them to answer questions about their favorite music and then rated the answers.

It turned out that their favorite music significantly reduced pain and had a much greater effect than quiet, unknown music or silence. “We also played mixed music. This is similar to music in every possible way, but without any meaningful structure. From this we can conclude that it is not just distraction or the presence of sound that makes the experience of pain less intense,” Valevicius explains.

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Good goosebumps
how is that possible? “The intensity of positive emotions appears to reduce the severity of pain. Goosebumps also appear to be associated with lower levels of pain and usually occur at the peak of music and are associated with music that a person touches deeply or finds very beautiful,” says the researcher, who also comments on his study. “The familiar is pleasant, but in most cases it does not elicit a strong response that makes a difference.” “There is evidence that soothing music has an effect if someone listens to it for more than twenty minutes, so a relaxation mechanism may kick in if a person in pain hears the music for longer. “

Music that touches you
The researchers then looked at whether the preferred type of music being listened to mattered: fast and energetic, happy and cheerful, calm and relaxing or poignant and bittersweet. One type of music was actually different from the other. “The effect on pain was 40% greater for moving music than for other types of preferred music,” says Valevicius. “People enjoyed the moving music more intensely and felt goosebumps more.”

Don’t relax, have fun
Although it is not yet entirely clear how music-induced chills work, there appears to be a neurophysiological process that is effective in blocking pain signals. This feeling manifests itself not only in the form of goosebumps, but also in the form of tremors or tingling, for example. Either way, music that moves you works best if you want to reduce pain. “We were very surprised by the significant difference between favorite music and relaxation music in reducing pain. It appears that relaxation-based or distraction-based methods are not as effective as the intense positive feelings that music can create. But we were also interested in separating pleasure on the one hand from chills on the other hand by Music when it comes to reducing pain, because that says something about the underlying mechanisms.

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To learn more about the relationship between music and pain, the researchers want to put participants under the scanner. “To find out what happens in the brain during pain relief by music and during the goosebumps reaction,” he concludes: “Especially when it comes to emotional themes in favorite music, such as ‘poignant and sweet’, we are discovering new dimensions in the psychology of music listening that have not yet been well studied.” “Especially with regard to pain relief.”