In an experiment, 80 students were each randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions: no treatment (control), music only, imagery only, and music and imagery combined.
The first group was asked to sit quietly for 17 minutes. The second group listened to a recording of Pachelbel’s D-major canon. The third treatment used directed imagery to help the subjects visualize the bone marrow, a primary source of lymphocyte production, and the radiation of cleansing lymphocytes to various areas of the body. The fourth treatment combined the music and the directed imagery.
The second, third, and fourth treatments resulted in significant increases in the subjects’ immune response. The fourth treatment, however, did not show a significant increase over those of the second and third.
This according to “The effects of music and biological imagery on immune response (S-IgA)” by Chung Tsao Chien, et al., an essay included in Applications of music in medicine (Washington, D.C.: National Association for Music Therapy, 1991, pp. 85–121.
Today is Pachelbel’s 360th birthday! Below, Rob Paravonian discusses other uses of the celebrated canon in D.