Johns Hopkins Researchers Study Ideal Music for Psychedelic Therapy Sessions

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine recently discovered that playing classical music during a psychedelic therapy session added no value to the session. So while Bach or Chopin may be calming to listen to, they are of no special value in the therapy room. The study also discovered that gongs would be better suited for such an exercise.

The researchers noted in the study that while Western classical music was assumed to be the norm in psychedelic therapy, the data collected during the study challenged the belief that any genre of music would support an individual’s psychedelic therapy. The study was reported in the “Pharmacology and Translational Science Journal” by the American Chemical Society.

For the study, the team of Johns Hopkins researchers studied a trial on the use of psilocybin therapy to help individuals stop smoking tobacco; the trial involved 10 participants. The researchers compared therapy sessions that featured the use of overtone-based music with instruments such as Tibetan singing bowls or gongs with sessions that featured classical music.

The researchers explained that while they did not find any significant differences between the musical genres that were analyzed, observed trends suggest that the playlist that incorporated overtone-based music gave rise to moderately better results. Additionally, the playlist was preferred by most of the participants.

The study participants each had three sessions of therapy: one that featured overtone music and another with classical music. In the third therapy session, the participant was allowed to choose the type of genre they would prefer between the two. The dosage of psilocybin administered was between 20 to 30 mgs per 70 kg of body weight. The researchers also studied each participant’s evaluation of their experiences. This covered both challenging experiences that resulted in panic as well as mystical experiences.

The study authors stated that the examination of average and individual data showed that as compared to sessions that involved Western classical music, overtone-based sessions yielded higher overall scores. However, they also noted that the difference was not statistically significant.

The team of researchers came to the conclusion that the study backed the idea that creating a process for producing musical selections that were specific to patients instead of providing music that was regarded as the standard would better therapy results.

In addition to this, the researchers also wrote that the study’s findings highlighted the need to customize conditions to suit a patient’s needs in a bid to enhance the therapeutic effects of psychedelic therapy across varied and diverse populations.

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