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A recent study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that people who were listening to their favourite music felt less pain and could stand pain for a longer period of time.

Pain researchers measured how people responded to pain with various forms of distractions, including relaxing music, listening to humorous audio tapes, doing math puzzles and looking at art. They found that music was the stimulus that most seems to keep people's minds off the pain.

The researchers were surprised to what extent could listening to favourite music be effective in pain tolerance and in reducing how much pain they felt.

It is essential to point out that not just any music, relaxing jazz playing in the dentist's office or the classical piped into the clinic waiting room, that does people good but their own personal favourite.

Over 400 people have been included in the study and there hasn’t been anything in common between the pieces that they brought to listen to.
In the study, people were asked to dunk their hand, up to the wrist, in frigid water, and keep it there as long as they can stand it. The test was only done on healthy people and there was an upper limit on the amount of time they could keep their hand in the cold bath.

The researchers wanted to see whether music would have an effect on people's tolerance of pain — to how long they could tolerate some kind of painful stimulus and also whether it would reduce the actual feeling, their actual pain perception for them and whether it would reduce the anxiety of human pain and whether it would help them feel a bit of control over pain they're going through. The study participants reported their ability to distract themselves from pain more than doubled if they were listening to their favourite music, while their perception of the amount of pain they felt fell significantly.

Author of the study, who studies art as well as pain management, believes that it is emotional associations of music that lessens human perception of pain. "It's the distraction of music that you love and you have a relationship with. And you're so emotionally tied to it, you're so emotionally engaged, that it can actually take the pain away”

The researchers hope that their finding will make a difference in many medical situations like dealing with chronic pain or for people facing painful medical tests.


I think music should be considered an alternative form of medicine. The healing effect of music is well-documented.