"There is increasing empiric evidence that musical interventions can result in reduced anxious and depressive symptoms and lowered blood pressure."
—Bruce S. Victor, MD
Medical Adviser, Healing Muses
Harp music has a long history of use in healing and plays a central role in Healing Muses' work. Current medical research conducted at leading medical centers throughout the world increasingly substantiates that music is medicine.
"The Healing Power of Music," New York Times, 4/8/2021
A review of 400 research papers conducted by Daniel J. Levitin at McGill University in 2013 concluded that “listening to music was more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety prior to surgery.” “Those who undergo the therapy seem to need less anxiety medicine, and sometimes surprisingly get along without it,” said Dr. Jerry T. Liu, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
"Recognition of the Power of Healing in Music is Growing," Dr. Lloyd Minor, Scope 10K, Stanford Medicine, 4/4/2021
Beyond its well-known impacts on emotion and spirit, music also has a profound ability to support physical healing. Music therapy has proven effective in helping patients recover from stroke and brain injury and in managing Alzheimer's and dementia. A 2008 published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology found that music helped people recovering from a stroke with verbal memory and maintaining focus. It also lessened depression and confusion.
"Music's Power Over Our Brains," American Psychological Association, 11/1/2020
In a pilot study, Khan of Indiana University showed that patients with delirium on mechanical ventilators who listened to slow-tempo music for seven days spent one less day in delirium and a medically induced coma than those listening to their favorite music or to an audio book (American Journal of Critical Care, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2020). Now, with his Sound Health grant, he is comparing the effects of slow-tempo music or silence on 160 participants with delirium, including COVID-19 patients on ventilators in hospitals in Indianapolis. Studies like these underscore music’s potential as a safe and effective medical intervention.
"How Music Can Literally Heal the Heart," Elaine Chew, et al, Scientific American, 9/18/21
For cardiac patients, music-based interventions can also modulate cerebral blood flow, reduce pre-operative anxiety and post-operative stress, improve surgery outcomes, and lower cortisol levels. Music interventions are found to significantly affect heartrate and blood pressure in coronary heart disease patients. Listening to relaxing music not only reduced heart and respiration rates but also oxygen demand of the heart in patients who have had a heart attack.
This is just a small sampling of the current research material available on the subject of music and healing. Increasingly, medical centers and hospitals are incorporating music therapy into their healing programs for patients prior to and post-surgery and for a variety of conditions and ailments. It is no longer considered conjecture or wishful thinking. Scientific studies now show for certain: Music heals.