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Therapy app balances emotions through music

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Researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed an app that creates custom playlists to help listeners care for their emotions through music.

The Emotion Equalizer App could be used by people who may not feel comfortable seeking counselling due to feeling shame or mistrust for therapy.

After taking listeners on an emotional rollercoaster ride, the app aims to leave the listener in a more positive and focused state.

Man Hei Law of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said:

“As humanity’s universal language, music can significantly impact a person’s physical and emotional state.

“For example, music can help people to manage pain. We developed this app as an accessible first aid strategy for balancing emotions.”

Users take three self-led questionnaires with the app to measure their emotional status and provide the information needed to create a playlist.

Current emotion and long-term emotion status are assessed with a pictorial assessment tool that helps identify emotions in terms of energy level and mood.

Energy level spans from high, medium to low while mood can register as positive, neutral or negative.

A Patient Health Questionnaire and a General Anxiety Disorder screening are also used to tailor personalised music therapy treatments.

After determining the emotional state of the user, the app creates a customised and specifically sequenced playlist of songs using one of three strategies: consoling, relaxing or uplifting.

Law said:

“In our experiments, we found out that relaxing and uplifting methods can significantly move listeners from negative to more positive emotional states.

“Especially, when listeners are at a neutral mood, all three proposed methods can change listeners’ emotions to more positive.”

The Emotion Equalizer App is not the first piece of technology to use music for therapeutic purposes.

As reported in Health Tech World, a music pillow trialled in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Odense University Hospital helped patients awaiting surgery feel less anxious, more relaxed and experience less pain.

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