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Can music medicine improve my life?

Audicin stands for Audio Medicine.

But is music truly powerful enough to impact significantly on our wellbeing and health?

An article in The Guardian made the case that music has an exciting future as an allied medicine. As an example, “a regular prescription of music can reduce the blood pressure of people with hypertension by 6mmHg. That’s enough to lower the risk of a stroke by 13%”.

Put into perspective, Statins are associated with a 17% reduced risk of ischaemic stroke or systemic embolism and a 7% reduced risk of haemorrhagic stroke. And music (at a safe volume) – unlike Statins – is side-effect free.

What is more, music is combinatory; it can be applied alongside pharmacological interventions without interaction effects. Music is an additive measure, a wellbeing booster.

We are talking about music medicine, music as an intervention for health and wellbeing. Not music therapy. Music therapy relies on the professional relationship between a trained therapist and client. Live interaction with music is also key. Music therapy has substantial positive health impacts too, so it is important to be clear on the difference in order that we can understand how and why people benefit from both practices.

At Audicin we create and curate music medicine that helps regulate the nervous system, support cognitive function and reduce stress. You don’t need to stop what you are doing, just pop on headphones and listen.

Audicin is important for our future as stress is killing people. We need all possible tools to improve this situation. Stress is associated with chronic health problems, it negatively impacts glucose regulation, immune functioning and mental activity.

But why can’t we just play music that we like to reduce stress?

Absolutely play your favourite music whenever you have the chance to enjoy it. There are many benefits from engaging with the music you love. But expecting it to serve wellbeing effectively just because you like it/ want it to work is misguided.

In response to the Guardian article about music medicine, to its claims about the power of playlists, Dr. Efthymios Papatzikis, Associate Professor of Infant Brain Development at Oslo Metropolitan University said:

“I believe this oversimplifying and mostly reductionist approach (especially for music medicine in this case) harms the academic and professional services, outcomes and their further integration in society. We cannot simply say that “music medicine is easy to roll out” and that we can simply use a playlist to medically help ourselves. Neither we have the knowledge to do so nor it is that straightforward to align features of music to treat clinical condition

So whilst it seems like an easy answer – music makes us feel better – using a random playlist you find in an online music store or create yourself is not the most effective way to improve life.

The key to music as a wellbeing tool is moving from intuitive to informed application. Without evidence-base behind the music and its selection there is no guarantee that a playlist will change anything, even if you love it. And when it comes to working with music in the background, you could even make the situation worse by choosing the wrong kind of music.

We need the right music, at the right time and for the right person. Individualised, evidence-based music interventions, that is the future.

So where do we start?  Where is the knowledge to create and curate effective music medicine?

Scientists have been unwrapping the puzzle of music impacts step by experimental step for many years. The next exciting stage is applying this evidence to create and curate music for purpose.

At Audicin every aspect of music composition and production is research-driven by our unique team expertise in arts, science and engineering. The magic of this combination is the only way to achieve an optimised result that is enjoyable to listen to over and over again.

From the first notes, rhythms, timbres and instrumentation all the way through to the techniques of mixing and mastering. The knowledge gained from science studies is applied consistently to ensure that Audicin makes us feel calmer, helps us to work, recharges our brain and body.

This is the exciting future.

Audicin provides music that works with us and for us, leaving us free to enjoy our favourite music from our past whenever we want.

We can indulge our passion for our favourite tracks AND also have the right music at our fingertips to help us to lead healthy and productive lives. We can have our cake and eat it too!