Skip to Content
PR Newswire

LUCID Announces Preliminary Study Results of Digital Music Therapy's Positive Impact on Somatic Anxiety

LUCID Announces Preliminary Study Results of Digital Music Therapy's Positive Impact on Somatic Anxiety

LUCID Announces Preliminary Study Results of Digital Music Therapy's Positive Impact on Somatic Anxiety

PR Newswire

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2020

Preliminary data from a randomized controlled trial indicates that a single session of LUCID's VIBE app was effective at reducing somatic state anxiety in individuals with moderate trait anxiety.

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - Today, LUCID Inc. released preliminary results from a randomized controlled trial studying the effects of their core technology on anxiety symptoms. The intervention examined was VIBE, a personalized digital music therapy app that leverages reinforcement learning, a sub-discipline of machine learning, to curate personalized music sequences optimized for specific emotional outcomes. Results show that a single session with VIBE was significantly more effective at reducing somatic anxiety than comparator technologies (16% vs. 5%, p=0.03) in individuals with moderate trait anxiety, and support the use of VIBE as part of an anxiety treatment program.

The all-digital study enrolled 264 adults aged 18-63 (mean = 29) with moderate to severe anxiety across multiple countries. Participants were randomized to listen to a 24-minute session of either VIBE's personalized music alone, VIBE's personalized music with integrated auditory beat stimulation (ABS), or a control condition (pink noise or ABS alone).

Both versions of VIBE (with and without ABS) significantly outperformed both active comparator groups. For participants with moderate trait anxiety, the group that listened to VIBE with integrated ABS showed a 16% mean reduction in somatic anxiety compared to a 5% mean reduction in the pink noise control group (p=0.03). According to linear regression analysis, participants with higher trait anxiety saw greater reductions in somatic anxiety (p<0.05). Reductions in cognitive anxiety followed similar trends, though the comparisons between groups were not statistically significant; a longitudinal extension of this study will be conducted to explore whether regular use of VIBE shows greater effects on cognitive anxiety.

"These preliminary findings indicate that personalized music as delivered in the VIBE system is more effective than comparator technologies in alleviating symptoms of anxiety in individuals living with moderate trait anxiety," said Dr. Frank Russo, Professor of Psychology at Ryerson University, Director of the SMART Lab, and Principal Investigator of this study. "While additional research is necessary, these findings are exciting and consistent with the use of the VIBE system as part of a treatment program for anxiety."

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the US, affecting nearly 20% of the population. Among adolescents and young adults, the prevalence of mental health challenges has skyrocketed over the past decade. Even when anxiety presents at subclinical levels, it can be disabling and can negatively impact physical health and quality of life.

The study's primary outcome measure was the change in the State-Trait Inventory of Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA) scores, which assesses anxiety using a two-dimensional state-trait, cognitive-somatic model. State anxiety is a transient response to stress, while trait anxiety is an individual's tendency to become state-anxious in stressful situations. Somatic anxiety refers to physical symptoms of anxiety, including increased respiration rate, heart rate, sweating, trembling, and muscle tension. Conversely, cognitive anxiety symptoms are more directly associated with thought patterns, including intrusive thoughts, worry, and lack of concentration. Participants were categorized as low-anxiety, moderate-anxiety, or severe-anxiety according to STICSA trait score cutoffs reported in a previous study.

Somatic anxiety is often overlooked, even though somatic symptoms have been shown to contribute to 42-46% of anxiety levels. Somatic anxiety has been positively correlated with insomnia, overall generalized anxiety severity, and history of disease. The relationship between somatic and cognitive anxiety is complex and is not yet fully understood, though it is known that the two can positively reinforce one another. As a result, an intervention that minimizes somatic anxiety symptoms may reduce cognitive anxiety symptoms simultaneously. For individuals whose anxiety is primarily somatic, managing these symptoms may get to the root of their anxiety.

"This study is one piece of a cohesive body of research that LUCID is pursuing," said  Zoë Thomson, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of LUCID. "Anxiety can play a remarkably detrimental role on both physical health and quality of life. We are driven to explore the full breadth of ways in which VIBE, as a standalone digital health tool and in combination with other technologies, can positively impact anxiety symptoms, both generally and for specific populations."

This first-of-its-kind study has demonstrated the efficacy of digital music therapeutics to reduce somatic anxiety symptoms. Full analysis of the data is in progress, and results of the study will be presented at scientific conferences and submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Future work will include a longitudinal extension of this study to further assess effects on cognitive anxiety and severe trait anxiety.

About VIBE and The Adult Acute Anxiety Study (AAA)

VIBE is a digital therapeutic mobile app that leverages LUCID's proprietary patent-pending Affective Music Recommendation System to optimize personalized music sequences for specific mental and emotional outcomes. VIBE uses this reinforcement learning algorithm to embed auditory beat stimulation (ABS) within the fabric of the music, which is then curated in real-time according to assessments of the user's emotional state.

The Adult Acute Anxiety Study (AAA) assessed the efficacy of LUCID's flagship technology, VIBE, on anxiety reduction. The study's primary outcome measure was the change in State-Trait Inventory of Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA) scores. Musical preferences and personality types were also collected using the Short Test of Music Preferences (STOMP) and Eysenck Personality Test, respectively. The study was performed by Drs. Frank Russo and Adiel Mallik at the SMART Lab in Ryerson University's Department of Psychology, and conducted remotely using online recruitment and data collection methods.


LUCID's mission is to transform the mental health industry by unlocking the potential of music therapy through innovative AI technology. LUCID emphasizes non-invasive and accessible tools to help people with their mental health, by providing evidence-based and scientifically-validated personalized music therapies based on real-time mood assessment. With patented technology and a clinical research pipeline, LUCID is committed to scientifically validating music as medicine.

LUCID's partners and collaborators include Mitacs, the Ontario Brain Institute, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Next Canada, MaRS, and Ryerson University. LUCID's advisors include Dr. Rébecca Kleinberger from MIT Media Lab,  CAMH's Chief of General and Health Systems Psychiatry Dr. Farooq Naeem, Ryerson SMART Lab's Dr. Frank Russo, and Dr. Sageev Oore of Dalhousie's Vector Institute of AI. For more information, please visit us at, or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

View original content: