Usually you would want to retire for hours into a dark, quiet room when you’re hit by a migraine attack, but sometimes it’s not possible.
Even if you’re lucky to find a quite place, it’s impossible for you to escape the “feeling” of pain in your eyes while your skull seems to be crushing underneath that migraine pain.
If you could somehow take your mind away from this pain…somehow…it could help you get past your attack with ease.
Even some researchers think so.
In fact, a study was published few years back in the Journal of Pain with a heading Emotional Valence Contributes to Music-Induced Analgesia, where many researchers found that “music definitely induces emotions and modulates the experience of pain.
These researchers also found that patients felt “much less anxiety after listening to pleasant music” and this kind of positive music also induced corresponding emotional states in them.
I won’t say that soothing music will cure your migraine but this approach is something underutilized by many of us. Myself included!
Not all music is equal
In this study with 18 participants, both unpleasant and pleasant music was studied. Unpleasant music was not effective on pain, but pleasant music was found to reduce pain levels compared to silence or unpleasant music.
Music is definitely the oldest method to relieve pain and has been used since thousands of years. So it’s bit strange to find little research about it.
You already know good music can reduce depression, stress and distress especially if you’re down with chronic and acute pain.
In a study in 2001, it was found that 93 percent of 5,500 patients who underwent dental surgery reported much less pain whilst listening to music.
In a metal review of 52 music therapy studies for pain relief, it was found that over 3,700 patients among 5,000 reported 50 percent reduction in pain with music analgesia and a reduction in opiod medications. Here analgesia simply refers to pain relief.
So in other words, 8 out of 10 patients experienced 50 percent reduction in pain, according to this meta review.
Many more studies were done to judge the effects of music therapy on pain from major surgeries, hip and knee replacements, cancer and it was found that music definitely has a positive effect on reducing patient pain and anxiety in around half of the cases. It’s encouraging!
This clearly shows there is strong scientific basis for using music therapy to ensure pain relief given its low cost and risks.
Tips to get the best Therapeutic Results from Music
There are many ways in which you can maximize therapeutic benefits of music:
- Try to listen to very slow and flowing music (65-90 beats/minute)
- Not too loud (max 55 dB)
- Non Lyrical
- Try to listen to something that calms you, is pleasant and relaxing
- Listen to music for at least 30 minutes
Follow all these guidelines and you’ll be as surprised as I was with the results
It’s akin to discovering an entirely new world that was long forgotten.
This kind of music can be listened whilst reading, working, meditating or when trying to fall asleep.
If you’re not clear about the best music for you, you can go online and on forums to seek suggestions to get started, and many of them are freely available.
There is Strong Evidence of Music Helping with Stress, Sleep and Anxiety
In a meta review of 8 different sleep studies in 2003, it was found that listening to music definitely helps improve sleep quality. However, just one of these studies examined further into the sleep duration, time to fall asleep, number of wakes during the night. No evidence was found that music could improve these outcomes. No negative side effects of listening to music were found in any of these studies.
Stress & Anxiety
People with coronary heart disease (CHD) experience greater stress which puts them at risk of greater complications including sudden death due to some cardiac event.
This study did not involve any migraine patients, but only 1373 participants with CHD who underwent 29 trials found that listening to music can have good effects on anxiety in those with CHD, especially ones who have myocardial infraction.
Results were even better for people who had the choice to choose the music they want to listen to. This definitely underscores the point that it’s very important to personally find the music that is calming, relaxing, and pleasant.
Results have also showed that music also has many beneficial effects on heart rate, systolic blood pressure, quality of sleep, respiratory rate and pain the people with CHD.
So, potential benefits of music therapy, if done in a proper way, are clear.
If you’ve never listened to any music, make a beginning now. If you’ve a distinguished music collection of modern and classic composers you are well on your way.
Chances are, you’re actually somewhere in between.
I’m listing below some suggestions that can help you explore and discover your own style, preferences and music that fits your own personal “soothing and pleasant” criteria.
Study Music Alpha Waves
If find this recording very different from the Reiki Zen recording. This music focuses on Alpha Waves and is more subtle. It shares a similar style to Reiki Zen music.
You may find many online videos making really bold claims around focus, healing, concentration or memory etc. There isn’t any need to focus too much on that aspect. These claims are not monitored by any medical organization or agency.
I would like to choose my music based on its creative audio qualities, not on the basis of any health claims or its video qualities. You will get better results if you stream the music whilst reading, working or meditating.
Reiki Zen Meditation Music
This appears to the most promising music at the moment. It’s positive as well as uplifting. It can help you get into your “zone’ much faster than when you’re doing any work.
Music is a very personal thing. If you don’t find this pleasant, there is no need to worry. You have many other exciting options.
Healing and Relaxing Music For Meditation
This is an awesome composition of piano and gentle guitar. You will hear soothing and relaxing music by Pablo Arellano who is quite famous in Mexico. He also composes, directs and writes music and has been active in movie industry for around 20 years.
Video is of high quality and shows the patience and polish of a seasoned professional.
Full Body Chakra Healing
This audio plays ambient music that is layered with isochronic tones and specific binaural frequencies to heal and perfectly balance each of your main seven chakras.
Actually, chakra is a Sanskrit word that translates into a disk or a wheel. It’s believed in ancient Indian medicine that chakras are energy centers in the body from where energy flows. If any of these energy centers gets blocked, it immediately leads to illness.
This video has binaural beats that are believed to have power to alter brainwaves to create a more focused, relaxed and calm state.
Relaxing Music with Water Sounds
This music is really popular and will surely grow on you too. It can be of different types, rivers, oceans, waves, rainforest, waterfall, and more.
It’s a very tranquil trickle of water that dances on gentler tones of piano in the background
It’s actually the perfect blend that allows you to enjoy this music whilst you’re resting, working, studying, recovering, pampering, meditating, massaging, sleeping, doing yoga, or are busy in a spa.
It’s a sound which your brain creates when it receives two different sound frequencies in each of your ear.
This difference is just 10Hz between sound frequencies, but as brain listens to frequency, it will generate its own 10Hz brainwave to resonate in tune with the beat. The brain will create its third binaural beat.
Actually, 10Hz is also Alpha Brain Frequency that is mostly found in monks who experience an altered state of consciousness and meditate deeply.
There is sound medical research on the links between binaural beats and lower levels of anxiety, enhanced relaxation and calm, amongst other benefits. However, this has not been extensively studied.
You need earphones to listen to binaural music because this produces the desired effect. It won’t work well when you use a speaker.
Free Classical Music Ad Free
Musopen offers you free public access to the greatest music composes and music ever made. It’s actually a 501(c)3 non-profit.
You will find many greats you may have never heard of. If you love classical music, this website is a must visit.
There are no ads in-between the tracks.
Lucid Dreaming Sleep Track
This is great to work or meditate with for the first two hours of the track which specifically focuses between Alpha to Theta brainwave range that is thought to induce relaxation and calmness.
After these two hours, it seamlessly transitions to Theta brainwave range that is present in sleep, dreaming and deep mediation.
You will hear chimes in-between at certain intervals (not a nice thing) and can put you off if you want to fall asleep. However, the music in itself is calming and relaxing.
Can Music really help my Migraine, Sleep and Relaxation?
Music is being used for pain relief for past many centuries before there were protocols and scientific evidence to prove it.
However, effectiveness of music therapy may vary from person to person.
Whilst your migraine attack may not go, it will definitely help control the feelings of your mood, anxiety, and also improve your ability to manage your pain.
There is certainly a good evidence to suggest that music therapy works and its benefits can be significant.
If you’ve been to a spa that pays a relaxing music, you would’ve already experienced the benefits of music therapy. Just few minutes inside and you’ll start feeling more relaxed even before your treatment has begun.
The best thing is that you can use this therapy without paying a dime and it starts working within minutes.
Dobek, Christine E., et al. “Music modulation of pain perception and pain-related activity in the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.” The Journal of Pain 15.10 (2014): 1057-1068.
Jespersen KV, Koenig J, Jennum P, Vuust P. Music for insomnia in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD010459. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010459.pub2
Nilsson, Ulrica. “The anxiety-and pain-reducing effects of music interventions: a systematic review.” AORN journal 87.4 (2008): 780-807.
Grocke, D., and Wigram, T. (2007). Receptive methods in music therapy: Techniques and clinical applications for music therapy clinicians, educators, and students. London, England: Jessica Kingsley, 2007.