Music The Best Medicine
Hospital radio has become an integral part of hospital life for over 50 years. Providing music news and information for patients recovering from operations.
Music can be an aid to recovery and a recent press release from Glasgow university adds weight to the argument that hospital radio's are helping with the recovery process:-
Two research studies at Glasgow Caledonian University have found that people listening to music may feel less pain and that music can relieve the symptoms of anxiety for people recovering from surgery.
The first study by Dr Raymond MacDonald involved 20 people who had undergone minor surgery on their feet and listened to music. He compared a second group of 20, who had undergone similar surgery, but did not listen to music.
He found those who listened to music when recovering from their operation felt less anxious than those who did not. A second study by Dr Laura Mitchell, asked people to plunge one of their hands into a bucket of extremely cold water and the time they kept it immersed was recorded.
Those who listened to music of their own choice experienced less pain from the water and were able to tolerate their hand in the bucket for longer than those who were subjected to mental arithmetic as a means of distracting them from the discomfort.
Those who listened to music also felt more in control of the situation than those who listened to audio-taped humour. Dr Mitchell said: "The study showed that music appeared to be the most effective strategy in combining distraction and feeling of control. "The music brought by the participants was varied and included punk, dance, rock, classical and folk.
The most surprising choice was the Prodigy's Fire-starter, not music you would immediately think of as relaxing, but the person who chose it put up with the pain five times as long while listening to it."
Dr MacDonald, added: "These two studies reveal more about the role of music in our lives and way we deal with pain. They may point the way for further research into the use of music in settings like hospitals".
The findings by Dr MacDonald and Dr Mitchell were presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference March 2005.