December 6, 2023

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‘World’s most relaxing’ song Marconi Union’s Weightless can reduce anxiety by more than 60%

2 min read

A certain song is so relaxing it’s been found to reduce anxiety by 65 percent and might even be able to rival pharmaceuticals when it comes to calming pre-op jitters.

But before you start picturing doctors serenading patients, let’s have a look at the research and which song the scientists used.

One study on pre-op anxiety involved patients having a type of regional anaesthetic called peripheral nerve block.

Writing in the journal Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine in 2019, the team from the University of Pennsylvania said pre-operative anxiety is common and can raise levels of stress in the body.

Credit: ChayTee
Credit: ChayTee

Sedatives used to treat anxiety can have side-effects that impact breathing and blood flow and need continuous monitoring.

For their study, 157 adults were split into two groups, with the first receiving 1mg to 2mg of midazolam, injected three minutes before the use of a peripheral nerve block.

Midazolam is sometimes prescribed as a sedative for NHS patients undergoing a range of procedures.

While the second group listened to Marconi Union’s Weightless via noise cancelling headphones. Have a listen:

Levels of anxiety were then scored and the result showed that patients in the music group had similar levels of anxiety to those on the drugs – suggesting music was just as effective at calming nerves.

While the song did reduce stress levels, it must be stated that patients in the drug group were more satisfied with their overall experience than those in the music group.

The researchers suggested this may be because patients were not allowed to choose the music they listened to.

Doctors and patients also thought it was easier to communicate without the music playing.

The team concluded: “Music medicine may be offered as an alternative to midazolam administration prior to peripheral regional anaesthesia.

“However, further studies are warranted to evaluate whether or not the type of music, as well as how it is delivered, offers advantages over midazolam that outweigh the increase in communication barriers.”

In a separate piece of research, Mindlab International found that Weightless created a 65 percent reduction in anxiety.

Credit: Maskot/Getty Images
Credit: Maskot/Getty Images

To create the song back in 2012, the UK band worked with specialised sound therapists on the track, using pianos, guitars, chimes, and chants.

Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, said: “The song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect.

“By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union have has created the perfect relaxing song.”


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