Feeling Hurt? Listen To Sad Songs, Says New Study

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A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Pain Research reveals that if you listen to sad songs, it can have an intriguing impact on how you perceive physical pain.

The research, not only affirming the soothing nature of music on the soul but also shedding light on its potential as a temporary pain reliever, brings forth some interesting findings.

Listen To Sad Songs To Ease Physical Pain – Study Finds

The study, which invited 63 young adults to participate, required them to choose two of their favorite songs, both exceeding 3 minutes and 20 seconds in length. One song represented their all-time favorite, while the other was the one they’d take with them to a desert island. Additionally, the participants were asked to select one of seven unfamiliar, relaxing instrumental songs.

During the study, the researchers exposed the participants to a burning sensation akin to placing a scalding teacup on their skin while they listened to different types of music. They underwent 7-minute intervals where they listened to their favorite music, the relaxing instrumental song, a scrambled version of both songs, or simply sat in silence.

The results were quite intriguing. People consistently reported feeling less pain when listening to their favorite songs compared to the unfamiliar relaxing music or silence. However, scrambled songs did not have the same pain-reducing effect, suggesting that music isn’t just a distraction from pain but has a more profound impact.

The study’s lead author, Darius Valevicius, explained that individuals who listened to bittersweet and emotionally moving songs reported experiencing fewer sensations of pain compared to those who listened to calming or cheerful tunes. This result is indeed fascinating, as it underscores the idea that music, particularly of the melancholic variety, can serve as a pain reliever.

Interestingly, those who listened to bittersweet music also reported experiencing more chills, those pleasurable shivers that run down your spine when you hear a moving song. These chills seemed to be associated with lower ratings of unpleasantness related to the pain they were feeling during the experiment.

Valevicius hypothesized that these musical chills might be a form of sensory gating, a mechanism by which the brain filters out redundant or irrelevant stimuli to avoid overloading the conscious mind. In this context, music might be acting as a filter, helping to reduce the perception of pain in the brain.

Patrick Stroman, a professor with expertise in the relationship between pain and music, also suggested that when people listen to music they enjoy, it can reduce the perception of pain by about 10%. However, he emphasized that while music can help to some extent, it’s not a substitute for proper medical treatment or medication.

So, while melancholic music might be a surprising ally against pain, there’s no harm in picking an upbeat song if that’s what resonates with you. Music offers numerous other health benefits, from stress reduction to improving sleep quality. So go ahead, indulge in your favorite tunes and let the music work its magic on your body and soul.

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