ok, i concede, good violinists can play doctors,,,:)

September 18, 2008 at 03:33 PM · Here is an article about art as painkiller.

ever noticed that while listening to stirring classical music (sorry you heavy metal fans:), our breathing tends to self regulate to a different state or tempo, if you will. may be slower and deeper, as in a purposeful meditation, which i speculate to say is good for health.

Replies (21)

September 18, 2008 at 04:31 PM · Check out the research on "superlearning." There is some evidence that classical music in certain tempos (generally slow) can aid in mental concentration. There is no doubt that many people find music soothing, and my belief is that part of the reason it can work is that it changes the nature of one's attention to put less attention on that which is uncomfortable (physically or mentally).

Of course, as evidenced by hundreds of posts on this website, music can also CAUSE pain.


September 18, 2008 at 05:39 PM · LOL! I have a raging headache, RIGHT NOW! ;)

September 18, 2008 at 06:44 PM · When my father was recovering from open heart surgery earlier this year at the Cleveland Clinic, they gave him a CD of classical music to listen to and told him to buy a portable CD player. He dutifully tried to follow this "prescription" when he got out of surgery, as he dutifully did everything he was told to do by his caregivers.

He has made a very good recovery over the past several months, but I don't think the classical music had very much to do with it. He listened to the CD once and called it "boring."

September 18, 2008 at 07:22 PM · I work at a post production facility, and we filmed and edited a television show about music therapy last year. Some experts interviewed for the show explained that the use of music can boost the immune system.

The show featured an 18th-century German physicist, Ernst Chladni... in one of his experiments, he discovered that grains of sand will form geometric patterns in response to the vibrations of a violin. His work later influenced modern music therapy research.

My violin teacher is actually in the Chladni scene, playing in the background as the show's narrator speaks on-camera.

September 19, 2008 at 02:10 PM · Check out the Mozart Effect.

September 19, 2008 at 03:07 PM · When I worked as am employee, a phase of my life that ended some 19 years ago, I had a "music box" in the office (FM radio, casette, CD). But aftger one brief attempt I never listened again. I simply cannot work on something that requires concentration (which any profession does) and have music that I would want to hear playing. For me it's one or the other. Music is not for the background!

I was talking to the pianist in my trio at the time (he was a college dean) and he told me of someone who had asked him why, as a lifetime musician he did not have music in his office, when most of the other offices did. He thought about it and realized that he (too) had to concentrate on music he he wanted to hear.

Regarding the so called "Mozart Effect," it is my hypothesis that it is not the intellectual thing popularly believed, but an autonomous response of the nervous system to establish internal organizing principles around the patterns of the music. (I probably heard that somewhere.) If this is so then it would only work for music within a certain range of rhythmic and harmonic complexity.


September 19, 2008 at 10:58 PM · Greetings,

>If this is so then it would only work for music within a certain range of rhythmic and harmonic complexity.

That is absolutely true.




September 19, 2008 at 11:06 PM · "He listened to the CD once and called it "boring.""

That's all you have to do. Exactly how it works has everybody mystified.


September 19, 2008 at 11:31 PM · tumors like humours?

September 21, 2008 at 08:43 AM · Seriously, I think drums are healing, they can be very primal, and those rhythms in other music. I think those rhythms are common to all peoples and cultures, back to the very start, therefore the drums for peace kinds of organizations; a commonality we all have deep inside.

September 21, 2008 at 01:10 PM · thanks for the input people. interesting point, jim.

heart beats/min ranges from 60-120 for most folks.

largo: 40-60

adagio: 66-76

andante: 76-100

moderato: 100-120

looks like devine conspiracy to me:)

September 21, 2008 at 02:23 PM · If you REALLY want to be scientific:

Anything by Heifetz - 250 beats/min

Bach Air on the G - 2 beats/min

Bazzini La Ronde.. - 2,847 beats/min

September 21, 2008 at 11:26 PM · Jim, good point about the drums, I know they are used a lot during music therapy with kids that have severe behavioural/mental difficulties or are autistic.

There was one weekend recently when I had to wait from a Friday morning appointment at the dentist until Monday morning when I actually got the replacement filling. I was in AGONY from an exposed nerve and the only thing that stopped me from howling like a baby was playing my violin - didn't really matter what, but I guess the simple act of really concentrating on the music plus enjoying what I was doing did something for the endorphins or whatever it is that acts as a natural painkiller in our body. I suppose too, it slows down the panicky quick breathing we get when we are in pain??

This organisation over here in Britain does a lot of work which I guess follows along these lines: http://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/

September 22, 2008 at 02:52 AM · Vaguely related - i had a migraine from hell once, no medication even touched it, for well over 24 hours. At the time we had a little kitten that purred like an outboard motor. I collapsed in the reclining chair and she sat on my tummy and purred. the vibration through my chest and abdomen was powerful and within 10 minutes the pain had subsided, and within an hour it had gone.

We ended up using her like they used to use leaches - just attach her and let her do what she did best.

Ahh, I loved that little Willow.

September 22, 2008 at 05:00 AM · I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet....;)

But seriously.

Someone gave me a CD called Mozart for Mothers-to-Be when I was pregnant with my first child, and I found it to be very soothing. At first I was just astounded with the gift: why would anyone give a classical musician a cheesy Mozart tape? But actually it was from one of my former teachers, and actually the performances are of surprisingly high quality. It remains one of my favorite CDs for calming my nerves.

I don't think the music did anything for my unborn child's brain development, but heck, who knows? I DID think quite a bit about the fact that at that point in my life, I no longer wanted to listen to drama-infested music, that I was going into a rather stressful period, one that would actually test my ability to LIVE through it (and it certainly did). I needed music that would keep me in a good place, mentally, so that I could get through a difficult patch, physically. Mozart did that.

I realize that's not very scientific. But disappointingly, The Mozart Effect turned out to be not-really-very-embedded-in-science, either. Maybe one day some study will prove what we musicians tend to understand intuitively about music: that it can heal.

September 22, 2008 at 03:20 PM · Depends on what you mean by "heal." Can it cure physiological diseases? Probably not. Can it help alleviate psychological stresses and discomfort? Probably.


September 23, 2008 at 02:19 PM · this study addresses a very large issue facing health care of today: pain. we have learnt to qualify feelings since the beginning of time, as in, oh that smoked sabre tastes great, or that cup of coffee rocks. this study moved in a scientific direction, attempting to quantify the dose effect, as in, how many layers of varnish sounds the best for a particular maker...

i like laurie's choice of word: heal, which does not mean a return to perfection but a stage where one can pick up the pieces with enough comfort and dignity. the wording suggests a combo of psychological and physical improvement. as western med practitioners evolve, they purposely leave the distinction blurred because they concede that it is fruitless to refute the unknown, that scalpels and drugs are not the panacea to all..

cure is a precarious word. but often i like my meat cured for that extra punch of flavor. and then they tell me it is carcinogenic. Bah!

September 23, 2008 at 07:26 PM · As a clinical psychologist, I have done some study of pain, and over the course of what is becoming a long career have worked with some problems involving physical pain. While I can't claim to have special expertise in this area, I have seen enough to form some conclusions that seem to hold up (for me).

Pain is what I would call a complex, phenomenological experience. This means that it is made up of many factors that interact in a complicated way, but that it is experienced as a whole, unified phenomenon (not as separate factors).

Let's make the assumption (just for the sake of argument) that the experience of pain is 98% physiological and 2% psychological. A change in that little tiny 2% can potentially change the entire nature of how the pain is experienced.

Let's say, for example, that you have a paper cut in your finger. This is a real, physiological injury; the skin is cut, and there are pain fibers that send pain messages to your brain. However, let's say that you don't notice that you have that paper cut, and you are walking around unaware of this physical injury. Guess what?...no pain. This has happened to most of us. Then, you notice that you have a cut on your finger, and THEN it hurts. The only difference was your attention to it.

So, yes, psychological factors - including music and our involvement in it - can potentially have a huge effect on our physical perceptions, and therefore can have an effect on our experience of pain.

I rest my case.

Now all I need to make my day complete is for someone to give me a good cup of coffee and a $700,000,000,000 bailout.


September 23, 2008 at 09:03 PM · sandy, thanks for the input.

the bailout is coming, except it is coming from everyone's pocket :(

now is that physical or psychological pain ?:)

September 23, 2008 at 10:21 PM · it`s in the bum so it@s intellectual pain.

September 23, 2008 at 11:17 PM · "and a $700,000,000,000 bailout."

Hey, we're working for you. I don't see a problem.

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