Music Can Ease Physical Pain

Researchers have found evidence showing that music can increase levels of endorphins in the body and increase the body’s threshold for pain.

What Are Endorphins?

Endorphins are neurotransmitters, or natural opiates, that transmit signals from one neuron to another. The release of these morphine-like chemicals in the body is associated with feelings of euphoria, pleasure, sexuality, social connection and pain relief. 

In a University of Oxford study, researchers found how music can influence levels of endorphins produced by the body.

Music And Endorphins

Robin Dunbar and his colleagues found that people who perform music, whether by dancing, singing, or drumming, increased their body’s creation of endorphins.

In one experiment, 12 drummers and nine employees were subjected to a test wherein pressure was placed on their non-dominant arm. The participants were instructed to speak up when the movement started to feel painful. Results revealed that the drummers, who earlier played music for 30 minutes, showed a higher pain threshold and more positive emotions than the employees who were working and listening to music.

In another experiment, the researchers looked at the services of two religious organizations. One involved a lot of singing and clapping while the other did not involve music. Those who attended the singing religious service were found to have a higher pain threshold than those who attended the more solemn service.

Although the study did not find increased production of endorphins in those who merely listened to music, other studies have shown that listening to music can still help those who are in physical pain.

This study showed that two daily sessions of listening to music can help relieve the symptoms associated with inflammatory disease and fibromyalgia. Although listening to music won’t make pain go away, researchers think that it can help pain sufferers manage their lives better.

Because performing music has been associated with the increased production of endorphins, it makes sense that people like to perform music. Endorphins are also associated with feelings of social connection.  An earlier study showed that people who sang and swayed in unison were more likely to work cooperatively afterwards. This is perhaps the reason why music is often part of religious and military rituals.

Good music played in social gatherings can foster connection and bonding. Bialek Music can provide you with talented musicians to perform at your events so contact us today.

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