Pain, Music & Workouts

“…what gives music its power to induce euphoria? The brain’s natural opioids could be key.”

Research by Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford, suggests that actively engaging with music (e.g. singing, dancing or drumming) will raise a person’s pain threshold more significantly than being passive (i.e. just listening).

Tom Fritz and Daniel Bowling, of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the University of Vienna respectively, are working together to exploit this effect. They are using a ‘jymmin’ machine which is a special type of exercise apparatus that enables music to be paired with weight training. The sounds change as the user pushes harder and the music’s rhythm matches that of their workout.

Fritz and Bowling have demonstrated that after just 6 minutes of using the machine, the amount of effort a person perceives they are making falls by half.


Sarchet, P (2015) Brain on Music Kills Pain of Workouts. New Scientist. 08 August 2015, pp.10.


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