Music as medicine: Studies show benefits of music on physical health

Riner Scivally's guitar helped him beat cancer. In 2010 he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and after learning he'd need chemotherapy nearly every day, Scivally decided to bring his guitar to his infusion appointments and play music throughout. He said doing so helped pass the time more quickly and brightened his mood.

Turns out, Scivally was onto something. Since 2017, Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California have incorporated what it calls "Music Medicine Interventions." It's simply the act of allowing a patient to listen to music before and/or during a medical procedure -- from a chemotherapy session to a colonoscopy. Studies show patients' blood pressure decreases, pain can be less, and, in some cases, less pain medication is needed.

The music helped Scivally so much, he's now paying it forward. Once a month, he visits the Kaiser Permanente where he received treatment and plays his guitar for cancer patients going through their own journey. Scivally said it makes him feel good knowing his sounds help soothe someone going through such a traumatic experience.