Recovery Music: Could Listening to Music Really Make Your Recovery Easier?

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas


Music has been an important part of human life for thousands of years, and the power of music to influence our emotional state is something most people know about. But even though we have a long history with music it’s only recently that scientists have proven just how beneficial it is. Medical researchers have found that listening to music has positive effects for people who are recovering from surgery!

What are the positive effects of music?

Music is known to have a range of benefits for people of all ages. For example, music can reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, and may:

  • Improve sleep quality
  • Aid the memory
  • Improve the immune system

There are all kinds of theories about playing music for children in the womb and how certain kinds of music may be good for normal brain development.

In the medical world, there’s the fact that surgeons who listen to music when they operate are able to work faster and more accurately.

But what effects can music have for surgical patients?

Music has a strong effect on mood, so it’s no surprise that surgical patients who listen to music say they feel less pain and anxiety after their procedures. According to a recent study of more than 7,000 patients, music has this effect when people listen to it before, during, or after their surgeries. While music can help at all stages, the benefits are much stronger for people who listen before their surgeries. The benefits are also stronger if patients are able to choose the music they listen to.

How can recovery music help you heal?

It’s common for people to feel emotional before and after they have cosmetic surgery. This is very natural—after all, you’re making changes to your body, perhaps even changes you’ve wanted to make for a long time. It’s also normal to feel a bit anxious about having surgery, especially if you’re having a general anesthetic. Advanced techniques and technologies reduces the risks, but most people still feel a bit nervous about having surgery.

recovery musicMusic can help with all of these feelings. By making it part of your surgery preparation, you may be able to reduce any anxiety you might have about the surgery. You’ll also have a way to lift your mood when you’re feeling tired or emotional.

You’ll also have a head-start when it comes to staying positive afterward! Recovery can be tough, so it’s good to have as many tools as possible to help you while your body is healing.

Remember that the process of recovery starts even before you have your surgery. That’s because your health and state of mind influence your recovery. The healthier you are before your surgery—and the more positive and relaxed you are—the easier your recovery will be. Music can play an important role here.

Having surgery soon? Add these tips to your plan!

Create different playlists.

When you’re going through an event that might alter an aspect of your life, your emotions can change from one moment to the next. Cosmetic surgery definitely counts as this kind of event, so it’s likely that before and after surgery, you’ll have a wide range of feelings. These might include anxiety and stress about the surgery and recovery process, as well as happiness, excitement, and satisfaction that you’re on the way to achieving your body goals. You may even feel sad as you say goodbye to your old body! There’s going to be some physical exhaustion too, just because having surgery puts some stress on the body.

With all of these different feelings lingering, you may find it useful to create a number of different playlists. For instance, a playlist for when you’re feeling tired or down might include some of your favorite upbeat songs, and a playlist for soothing anxiety and stress could include music that helps you relax.

Choose music you’re familiar with.

Listening to your favorite songs during recovery is a must because research shows that music provides stronger benefits if you listen to music that you choose. Opt for songs that you know and love, as well as songs that trigger happy memories and songs that just make you feel good whenever you hear them!

Focus on calm music.

While choosing your favorite songs is important, there are some other things to think about too. Listening to music that is slow, gentle, and calm tends to have a more positive effect on recovery than other kinds of songs. This may be because this kind of music helps you relax and helps to keep away the physical effects of stress.

This may be especially important during the first couple of weeks of recovery. If you’re on bed rest for several days or are restricted in terms of movement or exercise, the last thing you need is high-energy music that makes you want to get up and dance! Calm music that helps you focus on relaxing may make it easier and more enjoyable to get the rest your body needs at this time.

Have music within easy reach.

Once you’ve created a number of different playlists, it’s important to make sure that your music therapy will be within easy reach when you’re recovering. Remember that for the first few days you may be restricted to bed rest, depending on what kind of procedure you have. This means it’s important to make sure you’ve got easy access to a music player, whether it’s an MP3 player, a laptop computer, or a separate sound system. Make sure your playlists are loaded and ready to go when you need them, and let any family, friends, or caretakers helping you know about your music. This will ensure you’re well-prepared to make music a part of your recovery!

The positive effect that music can have on patients having surgery is encouraging to patients and surgeons alike. If you’re planning a treatment, be sure to work some recovery music into your plans; it could make all the difference!