Pain management in modern health
Music acts on the central nervous system, specifically on the deeper, older parts of the brain such as the limbic system, which is responsible for pleasure and essential for survival. Listening to music can also activate certain self-repair mechanisms throughout the brain and body that promote healing and mental health. In addition to reducing or even replacing some pharmaceutical treatments, listening to music has no unwanted side effects and can be used to reduce medical costs. It can therefore be easily incorporated into a multimodal pain management programme. Bernatzky, G. (2011)

Pain, anxiety, mood
Admitted to West Virginia Hospital for acute pain, anxiety and muscle tension, 100% of the participants in this 2010 study reported that listening to music was beneficial in some way and that they would recommend such music sessions to other hospitalized patients. Sand-Jecklin, K. (2010)

Stéphane Tétreault in the oncology department at the CHUM
February 14, 2019

Other notable studies


Compared to a group of cancer patients who did not receive a musical performance, the researchers noted a significant increase in the level of good mood as well as O2 saturation levels in the patients who received the musical intervention. Improved oxygen saturation in cancer patients helps reduce fatigue, increases muscle strength and aids in movement coordination.

Burrai, F. (2014)

Vascular surgery

It has been found that listening to the harp in an intimate concert setting is able to significantly reduce levels of pain, anxiety and systolic pressure in post-operative recovery patients following vascular or thoracic surgery.

Aragon, D. (2002)


There have been several reports that music heard by a person with advanced dementia has succeeded in awakening emotions, thoughts, memories and a "surviving identity" in the patient. This is due to the fact that perception, sensitivity, emotionality and musical memory generally survive much longer than other forms of memory.

Sacks, O. (2007)


Mean arterial pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate of ophthalmic surgery patients were significantly reduced after attending a live musical performance in the immediate post-operative period.

Camara, JG. (2008)

Accommodation centre

Researchers in the Netherlands have shown that intimate concerts given by professional musicians to people with dementia in nursing homes had a positive effect on the quality of human contact, care relationships, mood, communication, as well as improving the patient's perception of their relationship with their carers.

Van der Vleuten, M. (2012)


A 2007 study showed that just 20 minutes of listening to live music was enough to increase relaxation and significantly reduce levels of anxiety, fear, fatigue and diastolic pressure in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Ferrer, AJ. (2007)

Open heart surgery

In this study, oxytocin (anti-stress hormone) levels, perceived relaxation and PaO2 levels increased significantly in patients exposed to music on the first postoperative day. The integration of music listening as a stress management tool in cardiac surgery patients is therefore recommendable, as it is an inexpensive, healthy and safe method that promotes a state of relaxation.

Nilsson, U. (2009)


In Parkinson's patients, music provides powerful relief from the "frozen" or immobile state characteristic of the disease. In fact, when considering all the natural treatments that can relieve symptoms, music offers the greatest potential for recovery, without side effects. According to the researchers, this temporary improvement in the degenerative state of patients is due to a stimulation of the dopaminergic system, which is greatly affected by Parkinson's.

Sacks, O. (2007)