The Effects of Music & ABS on Anxiety: Clinical Trial Results

March 9, 2022
5 minute read
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Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in North America. Studies have shown that anxiety has been on the rise over recent decades, and today over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) and an estimated 1 in 10 Canadians have an anxiety disorder. Living in a pandemic for the past few years has certainly contributed to a new, pervasive sense of anxiety as well–the WHO has reported that the global prevalence of anxiety has increased by 25%. From life-altering consequences to daily lifestyle shifts, these past years have required us to cope and operate through tremendous stressors, individually and within our communities. It’s essential, then, that we have effective tools to address our anxiety, no matter what it’s cause may be.

Today, the scientific journal PLOS ONE published the first peer-reviewed clinical trial showing the results of AI-personalized digital music therapy on anxiety. The findings are exciting for anyone invested in accessible solutions for mental health challenges.

The clinical trial was conducted by Ryerson University’s Science of Music, Auditory Research, and Technology (SMART) lab in conjunction with LUCID. The results of the randomized trial showed that adults with moderate anxiety experienced a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms after a single session of AI-personalized digital music therapy.

The trial had 318 total participants, all of whom take anti-anxiety medication, and 163 of whom live with moderate to severe anxiety. The goal of the study was to observe how each participant’s anxiety levels changed after listening to LUCID’s digital music therapy in comparison to pink noise or regular music.

Participants underwent a 24 minute session with either LUCID’s personalized music with integrated ABS, pink noise, or music or ABS individually. At the beginning of a session, participants used LUCID’s platform to input information about their mood and anxiety upon entering the session, and where they would like their mood or mental health to shift towards by the end of the session. LUCID’s patent-pending AI would then curate a music session personalized to their experience and needs.

The study found LUCID’s AI-personalized digital music therapy to be significantly more effective than the control condition. Previous research has found that a one-time mindfulness practice reduced state anxiety by 5%. Participants with moderate anxiety reported a 17% reduction of state anxiety after a single 24 minute session with LUCID’s music therapy AI. This number reflects an average between the cognitive and somatic anxiety which the study was tracking.

Cognitive anxiety was reduced by 21% by LUCID’s music therapy, versus 15% by the control condition, and somatic anxiety was reduced by 13% by LUCID’s music therapy versus 6% by the control condition.

LUCID’s AI also incorporates auditory beat stimulation (ABS) into the fabric of the music. The study found that for participants with moderate anxiety, the combination of AI-personalized music with  integrated ABS was more effective at reducing anxiety than the AI-personalized music or ABS individually.

Dr. Frank Russo, the study’s lead author and the director of Ryerson University’s SMART Lab, says that recently there has been a remarkable uptick in the use of digital health tools to support mental health, especially in light of the pandemic and remote work.

“The results of the trial indicate great promise,” Russo says, “for the use of digital health tools, such as LUCID’s digital musical therapy, in the management of anxiety and other mental health conditions.”

The authors of the study concluded that sound-based treatments can be effective in reducing state anxiety, and can potentially offer a simple and easily distributable method of treating anxiety. The LUCID team is thrilled to have peer-reviewed evidence of their digital music therapy’s efficacy in anxiety reduction, and to contribute to digital health tools that can provide accessible solutions for addressing mental health in the modern age.

Read the full study here.