Whistle–or listen to some music while you work

Second in a series of articles on music as therapy

While some people say they need absolute silence when they’re working a recent study published by the American Pain Association states that listening to music may actually bring relief, especially to those who suffer from anxiety and easily become absorbed in cognitive activities.

According to an article posted on Newswise, researchers at the University of Utah found that music provided “meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain.” The article goes on to say “The findings suggest that engaging activities like music listening can be effective for reducing pain in high anxiety persons who can easily become absorbed in activities. They [the researchers] noted that interaction of anxiety and absorption is a new finding and implies that these personality characteristics should be considered when recommending engagement strategies for pain relief.” So listening to some music while you’re working may actually reduce any anxiety you’re feeling about that work.

It may not be just listening to music that is helpful, but also listening to specific sounds.
Dr. Lee Bartel, who we introduced in our last article on this subject of music as therapy says there are already many applications where sound therapy is effective including being used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and operating rooms in hospitals to using targeted melodic-based therapy in stroke rehabilitation. “However, in my opinion, the most powerful effects already being demonstrated and new ones to be determined will all have their basis in discoveries of brain processes within the gamma zone,” he says, “and the role of sound through a process of brain-wave rhythmic driving (entrainment) to stimulate this brain activity.” Bartel thinks this could lead to some real breakthroughs in using music as therapy.

“I anticipate that our research will show scientifically that specific parameters of sound, rather than the holistic “magic” or “power” of music, result in predictable effects on body and brain and consequently this sound can be targeted for specific medical effects.” Those effects may be easier to achieve than you think.

Play some music in your office and see if your anxiety level or the anxiety level of your patients is relieved. You may have to experiment with different types of music to see what suits best. Or you may just want to stick with something from the radio. You just may find you are concentrating a bit more on the melody or lyrics of whatever song is playing, and a little less on the stress you might be feeling in the office.

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