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How to Use Music to Improve Your Health

An interesting study in the September, 2005 edition of the journal Heart provides useful guidance on how to use music to decrease stress and promote good health.

Researchers in Italy and the United Kingdom monitored blood pressure, breathing rate, and other objective measures of cardiovascular and lung function in 24 healthy women and men before and while listening to different types of music.

Here are three of their key findings:

  • Music produces an arousal effect that is in direct proportion to music tempo
  • Slow or meditative music produces a relaxation effect on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • The relaxation response that occurs while listening to slow or meditative music is most prominent during short pauses or intermissions in between tracks

There's no question that music can have a dramatic impact on the tone of your autonomic nervous system. If various emotional stressors in your life are contributing to a health challenge or two, I highly recommend that you use slow or meditative music on a regular basis to decrease the negative effects that stress can have on your tissues.

Here are four specific suggestions to keep in mind for your relaxation sessions with music:

  1. Take a warm shower or bath before your session.
  2. Dress in loose, comfortable clothing - cotton pajamas are great.
  3. Turn off the lights and close your eyes as you listen.
  4. Use headphones to minimize background noise.

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