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NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

The NCCIH Clinical Digest is a monthly e-newsletter that summarizes the state of the science on complementary and integrative health practices for a health condition (diabetes, cancer, sleep disorders, etc.)—clinical guidelines, literature searches, continuing medical education, and information for patients.

In each issue, you'll find evidence-based information for several complementary health practices used for the highlighted condition.

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Music and Health

April 2022African American man playing guitar for his mother

According to a growing body of research, listening to or making music affects the brain in ways that may help promote health and manage disease symptoms. 

Performing or listening to music activates a variety of structures in the brain that are involved in thinking, sensation, movement, and emotion. These brain effects may have physical and psychological benefits. 

Increasing evidence suggests that music-based interventions may be helpful for health conditions that occur during childhood, adulthood, or aging. However, because much of the research on music-based interventions is preliminary, few definite conclusions about their effects have been reached. The preliminary research that has been done so far suggests that music-based interventions may be helpful for anxiety, depressive symptoms, and pain associated with a variety of health conditions, as well as for some other symptoms associated with dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions. 

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