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Why music is better for you than drugs
A new study from the United Kingdom found that listening to your favorite song after surgery can be better for you than drugs. - photo by Herb Scribner
Taylor Swift may be better for you than drugs.

A new study from researchers at Brunel University in the United Kingdom found that your favorite music can help you recover from surgery better than medication, according to CTV News.

The study, which reviewed data from 70 studies that included about 7,000 patients, found that patients who listened to music before or after their surgery recovered quicker than those who didnt. In fact, those who listened to music had slightly less pain than those who used painkillers, CTV News reported.

"Music is a noninvasive, safe, cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery," Dr. Catherine Meads, the studys 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."

The study also said that patients who listened to music during surgery or when under general anesthesia also saw reduced levels of pain, according to WebMD.

Experts agreed with the studys 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.

But Curtis Reisinger, a clinical psychologist in New York, told WebMD that this study doesnt mean that music will work for everyone, especially those who enjoy quiet environments more than music.

Still, this isnt the first time music has been linked to reducing stress better than medication. A 2013 study from McGill University Psychology Department found that playing and listening to music can improve your body's immune system and cut down your levels of stress. In some cases, music can be more effective than prescription medication, the study said.

Weve found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics, professor Daniel J. Levity, the lead researcher of the study, said in a press release. 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.

Specifically, the study, which compiled 400 research papers on musics effect on the brain, found that music increased immunoglobulin A, an important antibody in ones immune system, and natural killer cell counts, which are the cells that attack incoming bacteria and germs, according to the study.

Listening and playing music can also reduce the amount of cortisol the stress hormone from your body, the study said.

A similar study from 2014 found that music can also help people cope after a breakup because music helps the brain cut down on stress and realize the breakup isnt that big of a problem.

And though music therapy wont 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.
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