The late Dr. Bernard Carr was light years ahead of his time.

I still recall the oral surgeon in Hazleton, Pennsylvania offering me the loan of a Sony Walkman and a cassette featuring Whitney Houston power ballads during an in-office procedure in 1984. While its quarter-sized foam headphones hardly muffled all the cringe-worthy crunching encountered during the removal of my impacted wisdom teeth, the familiar pop strains served to soothe my 17-year-old self.

Some 30 years later, new research suggests music can help in a patient’s recovery. Playing music before, during and after surgery can help a patient heal, according to a report by’s Dr. Mallika Marshall.

“Researchers reviewed more than 72 studies about the effect of music before, during, and after surgery. They found that listening to music not only reduces anxiety, but also eases pain.

Dr. Robert Jamison, a clinical psychologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, treats patients for chronic pain and says he is not surprised.

‘Right around the time of surgery, people tend to be very anxious,’ he says. ‘Music can help people relax. It helps people to be distracted, and it probably stimulates certain pleasure parts of the brain that makes people feel better.’ “

Though I barely recall my Codeine-coated recovery period, the vivid memories of both pop artist and tracks, along with a fond recollection of Dr. Carr’s kindness, serve as a personal testimonial to the study at hand.

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