Music has long been known to affect mood. For example, athletes listen to energetic tunes to pump up before a big game. Music also has been shown to have a calming effect. Research suggests that music can be leveraged to lower blood pressure.
In a study reported at the 2008 meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, researchers at the University of Florence in Italy discovered that patients with high blood pressure who listened to music for 30 minutes a day — specifically, classical, Celtic or Indian music — experienced a decrease in blood pressure.
In another study, Japanese researchers at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine had people take place in bimonthly group sessions that revolved around either music or laughter. Participants were able to choose their favorite pop, jazz or classical music to listen to. The researchers found that these group sessions lowered the patients’ blood pressure by an average of five to six points after three months.
Apply the results from these studies to your life, and take advantage of the mood-stabilizing effects of music. Listen to soothing music on your car stereo when you’re stuck in traffic. Play classical music while you’re cooking or eating dinner to unwind after a long day or while you’re doing chores like cleaning the house.
Enjoy the harp
In a 2012 study out of the University of Arizona, researchers found that harp music stabilized the blood pressure of patients in an intensive care unit. One hundred patients participated in the study: 50 to listen to harp music played by one of the university’s music professors and 50 to act as a control. The researchers discovered that the 50 patients who received 10-minute performances had their blood pressure stabilize. Take advantage of the stabilizing effect of harp music by downloading classical harp performances.
Skip the rock
At the American Society of Hypertension 2012 Scientific Sessions, a study presented by Dr. Giuseppe Crippa from Italy had patients listen to classical, rock or no music. The study authors found that rock music — they had their patients listen to Queen — increased blood pressure, while the patients who listened to Mozart experienced a decrease in blood pressure. When feeling stress or anxiety, or if you’re in treatment for high blood pressure, try to listen to soothing music for 30 minutes each day to reap the health benefits of the music.
“Listening to music is soothing and has often been associated with controlling patient-reported pain or anxiety and acutely reducing blood pressure,” said study author Dr. Pietro A. Modesti.