From a study by Chen AC :
Pain perception and its genesis in the human brain have been reviewed recently. In the current article, the reports on pain modulation in the human brain were reviewed from higher cortical regulation, i.e. top-down effect, particularly studied in psychological determinants. Pain modulation can be examined by gene therapy, physical modulation, pharmacological modulation, psychological modulation, and pathophysiological modulation. In psychological modulation, this article examined (a) willed determination, (b) distraction, (c) placebo, (d) hypnosis, (e) meditation, (f) qi-gong, (g) belief, and (h) emotions, respectively, in the brain function for pain modulation. In each, the operational definition, cortical processing, neuroimaging, and pain modulation were systematically deliberated. However, not all studies had featured the brain modulation processing but rather demonstrated potential effects on human pain. In our own studies on the emotional modulation on human pain, we observed that emotions could be induced from music melodies or pictures perception for reduction of tonic human pain [emphasis added], mainly in potentiation of the posterior alpha EEG fields, likely resulted from underneath activities of precuneous in regulation of consciousness, including pain perception. To sum, higher brain functions become the leading edge research in all sciences. How to solve the information bit of thinking and feeling in the brain can be the greatest challenge of human intelligence. Application of higher cortical modulation of human pain and suffering can lead to the progress of social humanity and civilization.
(I read this before my first cup of coffee today, so I had to read the last sentence a few times because I just couldn’t believe it–from a study in the Neuroscience Bulletin a researcher is suggesting that the medical application of music is necessary for the advancement of civilization. Pinch me, someone!) Seriously, though, music, and especially classical music, is found once again to significantly affect pain levels, and this researcher suggests that music and art affect the posterior alpha EEG, and thus that higher brain function learns to manage pain. So please do not discount the role of music and art in the quality of your life, and surround yourself with what is most beautiful, both visually and with sound!