If you are getting ready to have major surgery, make sure some good jazz is in your playlist if you want a faster, less painful recovery. According to research published in Advanced Mind Body Medicine, patients who listened to a little postoperative jazz after major surgeries like hysterectomies had less inflammation, lower levels of anxiety and stress, and reported less postoperative pain. The study group was divided into two smaller groups, one of which listened to jazz while in post anesthesia care (PACU). The other group were given noise-canceling headphones for use while in PACU.
The researchers expected that those listening to jazz would have lower heart rates and blood pressure, indicating lower levels of stress. They believed they would also see less pain in the group listening to jazz. They were right on both counts, although patients who experienced silence in PACU instead of the usual bustle also experienced superior results to those who experienced a “normal” PACU stay. “Using music and/or noise reduction could decrease opioid administration, promote relaxation, and improve patient satisfaction,” wrote the team when the experiment had concluded.
It’s All About Your Brain Waves
So why would jazz music be a better postoperative treatment than, say, a classical theme? Well, as it turns out, jazz has a unique set of soothing, mellow tones that actually affect your brain waves in the same way other relaxation techniques like meditation and massage would. In fact, Science Dailypublished a study indicating that this reduction in stress and inflammation in your body can result in serious healing advantages, such as better memory and verbal recovery in stroke victims, a 25-percent improvement in mental state for depressed individuals, and a decrease in blood pressure that is the equivalent to losing about 10 pounds. Chronic-pain sufferers reported a 21 percent decrease in pain when they began listening to jazz just 30 minutes a day, and multiple studies show that daily jazz boosts your immune system.
The facts behind these seemingly incredible claims are actually quite simple: Our brains and our bodies are deeply, inextricably, often confusingly linked. When we experience emotional tension or stress, our bodies react with physical symptoms. Furthermore, that tension and stress affect our behaviors, often causing us to sleep poorly, exercise less, eat foods that are bad for us, and overindulge in a variety of negative behaviors. Simply indulging in a simple bit of relaxation by listening to jazz can change all of this by reducing the amount of stress and tension our brains are telling our bodies about. Then, our bodies and our common sense have a better shot at working the ways they are supposed to and keeping us healthy.
Make Jazz Part of Your Health Regimen
If all of this amazing information has you chomping at the bit to put a little bit of jazz into your health regimen, make sure you are listening to the types of jazz tunes that activate the “theta brain waves” that are most likely to stimulate your creativity and reduce your stress. Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” or Chet Baker’s “Almost Blue” are both prime listening for this type of health-oriented jazz appreciation, as is John Coltrane’s “Blue Train.” Your body won’t be singing the blues for long after a healthy dose of jazz hits your system, and then you can thank us in person at our next live jazz performance – which is also good for your health!