For the millions that have walked the Earth with lovelorn hearts reduced to dust, music has historically been a source of comfort. Heck, it gave us some of the best literature. And Adele. But new research suggests music not only uplifts us mentally, but also reduces the perception of physical pain.
By music, we mean “your” favorite kind of music, and not some monotonous space soap opera tune of the alien discotheque genre. “In our study, we show that favorite music chosen by study participants has a much larger effect on acute thermal pain reduction,” says an expert at the University of Montreal.
As part of the test conducted at McGill University’s Roy Pain Lab, human participants were subjected to moderately painful thermal force on their inner forearm. The team equated the pain with touching a hot cup of tea to the skin.
Participants were simultaneously made to listen a set of comforting music and tracks they were unfamiliar with. It only had a mild effect. But when they grooved to their jam, it worked far better at reducing their pain perception.
“Listening to their favorite music strongly reduced pain intensity and unpleasantness in participants,” says the research. With a correlation established, scientists did what they always do: dig deeper. Those curious virgin bastards!
As part of their investigation, the team behind the research set out to find exactly what kind of music worked best among energizing/activating, happy/cheerful, calming/relaxing, and moving/bittersweet. It looks like humans have a natural affinity for bittersweet music to deal with pain.
“We found that reports of moving or bittersweet emotional experiences seem to result in lower ratings of pain unpleasantness,” the release says. Welp, the next time you twist your ankle like an awkward manchild, paying a pilgrimage to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan could prove to be a physically therapeutic experience.
Just don’t turn to Taylor Swift tracks in your “heart break playlist #3” on Spotify. That shit is whack!