Music may be able to help heal — literally.
Beyond its soothing, stress-busting effects, a small new study from the University of Arizona shows how harp music can have physiological effect on patients in an intensive care unit by stabilizing blood pressure levels and decreasing feelings of pain.
The study included 100 adults (many were middle age or seniors). Half of them were given 10 minutes to just relax, while the other half enjoyed a 10-minute harp performance. The researchers measured their blood pressure and pain levels before and after the 10-minute harp or relaxation periods.
“If a patient’s blood pressure was low, which is most of the patients we see here, it increased after the harp music. And for a few with high blood pressure, it’s gone down after,” study researcher Anne Baldwin said in a statement. “It appears the harp music is bringing this back into balance, back into the normal range, which is ideal for healing.”
However, researchers were quick to note that they are not suggesting that harp music can, by itself, heal someone — but, it can be an important part of musical therapy that could provide positive benefits to patients.