The Most Relaxing Instrument? The Harp

If you’re looking to calm your nerves, harp music might do the trick. A University of Arizona study explored the healing powers of music and showed that patients are most eased by the harp.

Carrol McLaughlin, a professor and harpist, teamed up with The University of Arizona Medical Center to see just how powerful her music could be.

“The more I perform and work with people, the more I find that the harp has a unique healing property,” McLaughlin said. “I wanted precise, scientific data to prove these healing capabilities.”

McLaughlin played the harp for 50 patients in the intensive care unit at an Arizona hospital. The study shows patients, who were middle-aged or elderly, were calmed by the music. Medical markers, like blood pressure, returned to normal after listening to the harp. Self-reported pain scores also dropped after McLaughlin’s ten-minute performance each day.

Even the staff found the sounds of the harp soothing.

“Music has been well-established as therapeutic in numerous ways and in a variety of health-care settings,” Angela Muzzy, clinical nurse specialist in The University of Arizona Medical Center’s ICU said.

“In the high-tech environment here our patients are subjected to alarms ringing and machinery attached to their bodies, but the sound of the harp provided a soothing and healing environment — not only for patients and their families, but our staff as well.”

While buying a few harp tunes might not be a bad idea, there are other ways to unwind. A facial, a quick bout of exercise and meditation are also options.

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