Music has been used as a tool of healing since ancient times, appearing in the writings of the Greek philosophers Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Plato. Native Americans and other indigenous groups have used music to enhance traditional healing practices for centuries….

Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. These Spotlights were not selected because they are the most favorable or the most recent, but to provide you an introduction to the more extensive research you’ll uncover searching the four databases found in the “Research” section of this site.

  • “Groove Music” Significantly Increases Cognitive Abilities and Executive Function
    A new study from Japanese researchers published in Scientific Reports found that listening to music with a groove (music that causes the sensation of wanting to move to the rhythm/beat) can significantly increase measures of executive function. This first study of its kind used both brain imaging and measured individual psychological responses to “groove music” and found that music with a groovy beat impacted cognitive ability. It also found that it significantly increased brain activity in regions associated with it, such as the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (l-DLPFC).
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  • Music Therapy as Powerful as a Sedative in Reducing Anxiety before Surgery
    A 2019 study from the University of Pennsylvania found that music therapy was as effective as a common sedative (midazolam) in reducing anxiety in patients before surgery.
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  • Music Therapy Helps Improve Family Coping Skills
    A randomized Indiana and Purdue Universities study (2014, 113 young cancer patients) found that those that participated in a Therapeutic Music Video intervention (where they expressed their thoughts by writing songs/producing videos) exhibited significantly better courageous coping skills- and social integration and family environment 100 days later. 
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  • Finland Study Indicates Music Therapy Can Help with Depression
    A University of Jyväskylä (Finland) randomized controlled trial revealed music therapy, coupled with standard care, is an effective treatment for people suffering from depression. 
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  • Music Therapy May Enhance Social Behaviors in Autistic Children
    A Cochrane meta-review (2014, 10 studies with 165 participants) found that music therapy may prove a useful tool in helping children with autism spectrum disorder improve social interaction and communication skills, and the quality of parent-child relationships. More research was called for. 
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  • Music Therapy Impacts BPSD
    A Temple University (US) systemic review of 23 randomized controlled trials (1461 participants) concluded music therapy may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and pain in persons with coronary heart disease – but cautions more research is needed. 
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  • Japan Study: Music Therapy Reduces Anxiety for Dementia Sufferers
    A Tohoku University School of Medicine (Japan) 2013 meta-review of 20 studies analyzing music therapy’s impact on behavioral/psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) showed that music therapy had moderate effects on anxiety (large effects if studies lasted three months or more), and small effects on behavioral symptoms. Conclusion: music therapy is effective for the management of BPSD. 
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