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A candle is lit, a client is on the massage table, lotion is poured into one palm, and gentle music floats through the session room.
That last component of most relaxation massage sessions, music, has been shown through new research to have implications for the treatment of depression and physical pain.
Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University, in Scotland, are using an innovative combination of music psychology and leading-edge audio engineering to examine how music conveys emotion.
"The research could lead to advances in the use of music to help regulate a person's mood, and promote the development of music-based therapies to tackle conditions like depressive illnesses," noted a press release from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which is supporting the research. "It could help alleviate symptoms for people who are dealing with physical pain and even lead to doctors putting music on a prescription" tailored to suit the needs of an individual.