My second post on the relationship between music and the mind deals with how music can speed up the healing process after surgery. This article by Tom Jacobs describes two separate studies that suggest that patients recover from surgery faster if they are allowed to listen to relaxing music.
Cardiac bypass patients who listened to soft piano music got out of ICU about 5 hours faster than those in the control group, and hip replacement patients experienced less confusion if they were allowed to listen to 4 hours of music per day during their recovery. Both groups initially listened to soft piano music but were allowed to select a different genre once they were awake and alert.
Jacobs also notes (and I heartily concur) that these findings suggest new opportunities for musicians in terms of music CDs directed at this market.