It’s possible that if we took music a little more seriously, we would be in much better health. According to a study conducted by the Psychology Department as McGill University, music is more effective than drugs for a variety of conditions.

music better than drugsThe study found that music can release natural chemicals and pain relievers in the brain that work quicker and better than drugs do. Via TrueActivist

How does it work?

According to one of the main researchers in the study, Professor Levitin, music triggers chemical processes in the brain that have healing effects.

“We’ve found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics. But even more importantly, we were able to document the neurochemical mechanisms by which music has an effect in four domains: management of mood, stress, immunity and as an aid to social bonding,” Levitin said. Via TrueActivist

Some of the chemicals released while listening to music include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, opioids and cortisol. These are associated with higher levels of motivation and pleasure when engaging in certain activities, which in turn helps with eating disorders and a host of other issues.

medication side effects
Image Courtesy of Everyday Health

A major advantage of these chemicals is that they’re natural, so they do not trigger the kind of side effects that you might experience when taking drugs – whether prescribed or not. These chemicals have also been observed to help with stress, social anxiety and poor immunity.

Dr. Francis Chandra commented on the study, saying that that these findings could encourage people to limit their dependence on other drugs.

“We know music facilitates active neurochemical processes in a symphony of opioids which pharmaceutical intervention has been unable to match. We’ve had residents where we could reduce psychotropic drugs or have them come off, and we could see benefits to staff with improvements in morale and engagement,” he said. Via TrueActivist

Music also plays a crucial role in helping people who are struggling with drug dependence.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

It has also been found that when patients listen to music before surgery, they have lower levels of anxiety compared to patients given anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax or Valium.

The medication that we take is meant to act as a catalyst that unlocks the natural chemicals already in us. The advantage of music is that it offers an alternative so that these chemicals are unlocked naturally so we can avoid the toxins that enter our bodies when taking medication.

Another study conducted by researchers at Brunel University in the UK found that listening to your favourite music is better than medication in helping you recover from surgery. Patients that listened to music before or after surgery experience faster recovery than those that didn’t. In fact, they reported lower levels of pain than those who used painkillers.

listening to your favorite song
A new study from the United Kingdom found that listening to your favorite song after surgery can be better for you than drugs. (Giorgio Gruizza, ©

Experts agreed with the study’s findings.

“Music is a powerful tool with roots deep in every culture and civilization — it is wired deeply into the human brain and soul,” Dr. Ron Marino, the associate chairman of pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in New York, told WebMD. “This is another demonstration of nontraditional, non-pharmacologic methods of helping patients deal with pain anxiety and the general medical experience.” Via NewsOK

Even more interesting is the fact that patients who listened to music during surgery, even when under general anesthesia, experience reduced levels of pain.

“Music is a noninvasive, safe, cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery,” Dr. Catherine Meads, the study’s lead author, told The Lancet, which first published the findings. “Patients should be allowed to choose the type of music they would like to hear to maximize the benefit to their well-being.” Via NewsOK

music for heartbreak
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

People experiencing heartbreak, and specifically those who’ve just had a breakup, can cope better with music. A study conducted in 2014 found that music helps the brain cut down on stress, so the breakup is no longer that much of a deal for the brain.

And though music therapy won’t fix everyone, it will most often help those who enjoy music, Dr. Ernie Mak, a physician in Canada, told Global News.

“Many patients,” he said, “actually find the music therapy sessions helpful because it does help them come to terms or make sense with their physical suffering on a more spiritual or emotional level.” Via NewsOK

Featured Image: Image Credit


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