The Western model of medicine is based on research and medical technology. This is positive and gives us a certain baseline of professionalism from medical staff (doctors and nurses) and comfort about caring for our health.
Is there research about music and its positive effects? Yes! An excellent “primer” of research information about music and healing is Don Campbell’s “The Mozart Effect.” This book is filled with documentation about music and its impact in a variety of situations and with a multitude of illnesses/diseases.
That said, I have seen again and again that there’s a mystery to the healing power of music. Miraculous things happen while I play the harp at the hospital and hospice bedside. Sometimes, it can’t be explained … there’s no research, no evidence, no reason “why.” It is a mystery, a mystical experience. Music helps create sacred space, a healing environment. We may never understand exactly how/why it works … that’s part of the mystery. And part of our human experience is about living in the mystery, allowing it to just be.
Let’s not discount these amazingly beautiful experiences just because they are anecdotal and without “data.” It really is about integrating the mystery with evidence-based medicine … now, that’s Mind/Body/Spirit healing!