Music is healing not just to soul but for the body too, suggests new study


Music is medicine for the soul is a popular saying, but a recent study shows that it can be healing for the mind and body as well.

Treatments integrating music and auditory beat stimulation are effective in reducing anxiety in some patients, a recent study suggested.

The study by Adiel Mallik and Frank Russo of the Ryerson University, Canada was published in the open-access journal ‘PLOS ONE’.

Anxiety has been steadily increasing, particularly in the adolescent and young adult populations, over recent decades. Studies have previously shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, perhaps even more effectively than some anti-anxiety medications. However, quantitative data on the effects of personalized music on anxiety has been lacking.

In the new study, the researchers randomized 163 patients taking anti-anxiety medications to participate in an at-home treatment session involving music, auditory beat stimulation, both, or pink noise–background sounds similar to white noise.

The music was selected for each patient using LUCID’s artificial intelligence which curates’ music based on the patient’s emotional state and music preferences. Auditory beat stimulation involves combinations of tones, played in one or both ears, designed to trigger changes to brain activity. In all groups, patients were asked to download a customized application on their smart phone for the treatment, close their eyes, and listen to a 24-minute session.

Drs. Russo and Malik said: “With the pandemic and remote work, there has been a remarkable uptick in the use of digital health tools to support mental health. The results of this clinical trial indicate great promise for the use of digital health tools, such as LUCID’s digital music therapy, in the management of anxiety and other mental health conditions.”

They added, “The findings from this research are exciting as they indicate that personalized music shows great promise in effectively reducing anxiety in specific segments of the population that suffer from anxiety. Hopefully, with additional research, we can help build a solid evidence base which further supports the use of personalized music as an additional tool in the clinician’s toolbox that can be used to help reduce anxiety in the patient population.”