I keep talking about the positive effects of music on the physiology of our bodies – now some more scientific proof! Mamma Mia! Listening to Mozart lowers blood pressure…but ABBA has no impact!
Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G Minor Lowered Blood Pressure
Relaxing to a soothing Mozart symphony can lower the blood pressure as much as cutting salt from the diet or exercising, a new study has shown. But for people concerned about their heart, it might be wise to stay clear of ABBA, which has no impact at all. Scientists in Germany played Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in g minor, dances by Johann Strauss, and songs by ABBA to 60 volunteers, monitoring their blood pressure before and after the experiment.
“The music of ABBA did not show any or only very small effects on blood pressure and heart rate.”~ Hans-Joachim Trappe
They found that Mozart lowered systolic blood pressure (the pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats) by 4.7 mm Hg, Strauss 3.7 mm Hg, but the Swedish pop group made no significant difference. Diastolic blood pressure (when the heart rests between beats) also fell by 2.1 mm Hg for Mozart and 2.9 mm Hg for Strauss. Previous studies have found that aerobic exercise such as cycling, running or brisk walking had a similar impact on lowering blood pressure. Reducing salt by 6 grams per day brings systolic blood pressure down by between 7 and 4 mm Hg.
ABBA Live At Wembley Arena Press Image
The lyrics in ABBA songs may have prevented the calming effect of music, say researchers. “It has been known for centuries that music has an effect on human beings. In antiquity, music was used to improve performance in athletes during the Olympic Games,” said lead author Hans-Joachim Trappe, of Ruhr University, Germany. “In our study, listening to classical music resulted in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. These drops in blood pressure were clearly expressed for the music of Mozart and Strauss. “The music of ABBA did not show any or only very small effects on blood pressure and heart rate. This may be due to emotional factors, but on the other hand, the use of spoken words may have a negative role.” The researchers concluded that to be of benefit, music must be: in a pleasant key, of skillful composition, have a consistent volume and rhythm, devoid of rousing sequences, have no lyrics, and have achieved a certain degree of fame and popularity.
Source: The research was published in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International.
On our recent trip to Australia, we were invited by a friend to join in a presentation on monochromatic light therapy. Karl from Sweden was very knowledgeable and gave a very convincing lecture on the science behind the treatment and various studies supporting the effectiveness of the therapy. He also had some equipment along and gave us the opportunity to experience the treatment. It was a very “enlightening” experience! All who participated were quite enthusiastic with the results.
I want to give you the website so you can do your own investigation. The link is: www.monocrom.se
If you go to the literature tab and then click on “articles” you will find a host of research references and scientific papers listed.
I am including this information because I believe that light and sound are closely related in their beneficial physiological effects. Each sound frequency has a corresponding light frequency. I further believe that if you combine light therapies with the appropriate sound frequency there will be an increased physiological benefit.
More and more research is being conducted with more discoveries published every day. This is an exciting time to be alive! Feel free to share any research or web links you come across in this ever expanding discovery of the benefits of light and sound.
I came across this story that I wanted to share with my readers about the power of music. I was very touched by this woman’s ability to finally be able to express herself with music after so many years of being trapped inside her mind and body from such a devastating brain injury. I hope you are blessed by this story and gain a new appreciation of how much we need the expression of music in our lives.
Rosemary Johnson had made music for the first time since suffering a devastating car crash in her 20s.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
Violinist Rosemary Johnson has spent the last 27 years coming to terms with the reality she would never make music again, following a devastating car crash. A member of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra she was destined to become a world class musician before the road accident in 1988, which left her in a coma for seven months.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 19; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
Miss Johnson suffered a devastating head injury, robbing her of speech and movement and meaning she could only pick out a few chords on the piano with the help of her mother Mary.
“The first time we tried with Rosemary we were in tears. We could feel the joy coming from her at being able to make music” Professor Eduardo Miranda, Plymouth University
In an extraordinary 10-year project led by the Plymouth University and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, her brain has been wired up to a computer using Brain Computer Music Interfacing software.
Photo: Plymouth University
By focusing on different colored lights on a computer screen she can select notes and phrases to be played and alter a composition as it is performed by live musicians. The intensity of her mental focus can even change the volume and speed of the piece.
It is the first time Miss Johnson, 50, has been able to create music in decades and has been an emotional experience for the her, and the scientists involved in the program.
Photo: Plymouth University
“It was really very moving,” said Professor Eduardo Miranda, Composer and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at Plymouth University.
“The first time we tried with Rosemary we were in tears. We could feel the joy coming from her at being able to make music. It was perfect because she can read music very well and make a very informed choice.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 25 after the accident; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
“The great achievement of this project is that it is possible to perform music without being able to actually move. She is essentially controlling another musician to play it for her.
“It’s not yet possible to read thoughts but we can train people to use brain signals to control things.”
Photo: Plymouth University
Three other disabled patients who live at the hospital have also been trained to use the technology, and have been working alongside four able-bodied musicians from the Bergersen String quartet who play the music in real time as it is selected.
They are called The Paramusical Ensemble, and they have already recorded a piece of music entitled Activating Memory which will be heard for the first time at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival in Plymouth later this month.
Miss Johnson’s mother Mary, 80, of Hounslow, West London said the project had given her daughter new hope.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
“Music is really her only motivation,” she said. “I take her to the grand piano in the hospital and she can only really play a few chords, but that was the only time she shows any interest. She doesn’t really enjoy anything else.
“But this has been so good for her. I can tell she has really enjoyed it. When she performed I went to the hospital and that is the first time I have heard her make music, other than the piano chords for a long, long time.”
The technology works like a ‘musical game’ where the players select pieces of melody at certain times of the performance to augment the overall work, which was composed by Prof Miranda.
Each patient wears an EEG cap furnished with electrodes which can read electrical information from their brain. They are paired with a member of the string quartet who views the musical phrases on a screen as they are selected in real-time.
Photo: Plymouth University
Julian O’Kelly, Research Fellow at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability added: “This is a great means of transcending disability to offer individuals a unique experience of creating music with each other, and interacting with skilled musicians to create original compositions.
“In the case of Rosemary, the project illustrated the great potential this innovation could have for participants who may have once been gifted musicians, but now lack the physical abilities to engage in music making.
“You could clearly see in her broad smile during the performance how much she enjoyed the experience.”
The patient quartet are made of Miss Johnson, Clive Wells, Richard Bennett and Steve Thomas.
Photo: Plymouth University
Speaking through an automated voice machine, Mr Thomas said: “I like music and I am very interested in the Brain Computer Music Interface. It’s more interactive with people actually getting my instructions.
“It was great to hear the musician play the phrase I selected. I tried to select music that was harmonious with the others. It’s very cool.”
The team are hoping that the technology could be used one day to improve mood and help them to express their feelings.
“If our patients were able to compose music to reflect their state of mind, that would be an amazing way for them to be able to express themselves and music therapists could then use that to work with the patients,” added Dr Sophie Duport, of Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability
Photo: Plymouth University
Joel Eaton, PhD Research Student at Plymouth University’s said: “One of the key things about this system is that not only does it give a user the interaction and control of an instrument, it allows them to interact with each other.
“If this idea was developed it could have ramifications in all areas of someone’s life. Potentially I can see the ability for someone to express musically how they are feeling again without their ability to move their fingers, to communicate with words.
My cousin Cindy sent me a link on Facebook that is just astounding. There is actually research being done today that is producing positive results in using frequencies to shatter various micro-organisms – chief among them Cancer. I want to share the YouTube link with you so you can see for yourselves the results. Flat out impressive!
Be sure and watch it and share it – this could possibly change the face of the medical world and the way we treat disease in the very near future.
Thanks Cindy for sending this my way. If any of you readers on this website come across any other information like this please share it with me. This is a team effort!
I wanted to include this article from eMedExpert (online e-zine) because it has a lot of great references at the end of the article. If you are researching the effects of music, these references will be a great tool in getting you exposed to a lot of the literature that is out there supporting the use of music for so many areas of our lives – in health and well being. Much of this information I have included in previous postings, but the review is good and once again, these references are great! Enjoy.
How Music Affects Us and Promotes Health
Music is one of the few activities that involves using the whole brain. It is intrinsic to all cultures and can have surprising benefits not only for learning language, improving memory and focusing attention, but also for physical coordination and development.
Of course, music can be distracting if it’s too loud or too jarring, or if it competes for our attention with what we’re trying to do. But for the most part, exposure to many kinds of music has beneficial effects:
1: Music heals
Effective therapy for pain
Overall, music does have positive effects on pain management. Music can help reduce both the sensation and distress of both chronic pain and postoperative pain.
Listening to music can reduce chronic pain from a range of painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis, by up to 21% and depression by up to 25%, according to a paper in the latest UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing29.
Music therapy is increasingly used in hospitals to reduce the need for medication during childbirth, to decrease postoperative pain and complement the use of anesthesia during surgery30.
There are several theories about how music positively affects perceived pain:
Music serves as a distractor
Music may give the patient a sense of control
Music causes the body to release endorphins to counteract pain
Slow music relaxes person by slowing their breathing and heartbeat
Reducing blood pressure
By playing recordings of relaxing music every morning and evening, people with high blood pressure can train themselves to lower their blood pressure – and keep it low31. According to research reported at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in New Orleans, listening to just 30 minutes of classical, Celtic or raga music every day may significantly reduce high blood pressure.
Medicine for the heart
Music is good for your heart. Research shows that it is musical tempo, rather than style. Italian and British researchers32 recruited young men and women, half of whom were trained musicians. The participants slipped on head phones and listened to six styles of music, including rap and classical pieces, with random two-minute pauses. As the participants kicked back and listened, the researchers monitored their breathing, heart rates and blood pressure. The participants had faster heart and breathing rates when they listened to lively music. When the musical slowed, so did their heart and breathing rates. Some results were surprising. During the musical pauses, heart and breathing rates normalized or reached more optimal levels. Whether or not a person liked the style of music did not matter. The tempo, or pace, of the music had the greatest effect on relaxation.
Speeds Post-Stroke Recovery
A daily portion of one’s favorite pop melodies, classical music or jazz can speed recovery from debilitating strokes, according to the latest research. When stroke patients in Finland listened to music for a couple of hours each day, verbal memory and attention span improved significantly compared to patients who received no musical stimulation, or who listened only to stories read out loud, the study reports33.
Chronic headaches & migraine remedy
Music can help migraine34 and chronic headache35 sufferers reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of the headaches.
Music boosts immunity
Music can boost the immune function. Scientists explain that a particular type of music can create a positive and profound emotional experience, which leads to secretion of immune-boosting hormones22. This helps contribute to a reduction in the factors responsible for illness. Listening to music or singing can also decrease levels of stress-related hormone cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol can lead to a decreased immune response23-24.
2: Effects of music on the brain
Music enhances intelligence, learning and IQ
The idea that music makes you smarter received considerable attention from scientists and the media. Listening to music or playing an instrument can actually make you learn better. And research confirms this.
Music has the power to enhance some kinds of higher brain function:
Reading and literacy skills11-13
Mathematical abilities16-17 Even children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder benefit in mathematics tests from listening to music beforehand.
The Mozart effect
Earlier it has been thought that listening to classical music, particularly Mozart, enhances performance on cognitive tests. However, recent findings18 show that listening to any music that is personally enjoyable has positive effects on cognition.
Music improves memory performance
The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart’s music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activates the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, cause the brain to be more capable of processing information.
Listening to music facilitates the recall of information19. Researchers have shown that certain types of music are a great “keys” for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be recalled simply by “playing” the songs mentally.
Musical training has even better effect than just listening to classical music. There is clear evidence20, that children who take music lessons develop a better memory compared with children who have no musical training.
Note: For learning or memory performance, it’s important that music doesn’t have a vocal component; otherwise you’re more likely to remember the words of the background song than what you’re supposed to be recalling.
Music improves concentration and attention
Easy listening music or relaxing classics improves the duration and intensity of concentration in all age groups and ability levels. It’s not clear what type of music is better, or what kind of musical structure is necessary to help, but many studies have shown significant effects21.
3: Music improves physical performance
Music improves athletic performance
Choosing music that motivates you will make it easier to start moving, walking, dancing, or any other type of exercise that you enjoy. Music can make exercise feel more like recreation and less like work. Furthermore, music enhances athletic performance6-8! Anyone who has ever gone on a long run with their iPod or taken a particularly energetic spinning class knows that music can make the time pass more quickly.
The four central hypotheses explaining music’s facilitation of exercise performance include:
Reduction in the feeling of fatigue
Increase in levels of psychological arousal
Physiological relaxation response
Improvement in motor coordination
Music improves body movement and coordination
Music reduces muscle tension and improves body movement and coordination25-26. Music may play an important role in developing, maintaining and restoring physical functioning in the rehabilitation of persons with movement disorders.
4: Music helps to work more productively
Listening to upbeat music can be a great way to find some extra energy. Music can effectively eliminate exercise-induced fatigue9 and fatigue symptoms caused by monotonous work10.
Keep in mind that listening to too much pop and hard rock music can make you more jittery than energized. Vary what you listen to and find out what type of music is most beneficial for you. You could try classical music one day, pop the next day and jazz the third.
Music improves productivity
Many people like to listen to music while they work and I am certainly one of them. How about you? Did you know you can perform better at your work with music? Whilst there may be many reasons for wishing to listen to music in the workplace, it really improves your productivity27!
According to a report in the journal Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology28, a person’s ability to recognize visual images, including letters and numbers, is faster when either rock or classical music is playing in the background.
5: Music calms, relaxes and helps to sleep
Relaxing music induces sleep
Relaxing classical music is safe, cheap and easy way to beat insomnia1. Many people who suffer from insomnia find that Bach music helps them. Researchers have shown that just 45 minutes of relaxing music before bedtime can make for a restful night2.
Relaxing music reduces sympathetic nervous system activity, decreases anxiety, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate and may have positive effects on sleep via muscle relaxation and distraction from thoughts.
Music reduces stress and aids relaxation
Listening to slow, quiet classical music, is proven to reduce stress3. Countless studies have shown that music’s relaxing effects can be seen on anyone, including newborns.
One of the great benefits of music as a stress reliever is that it can be used while you do your usual deeds so that it really doesn’t take time.
How does music reduces stress?
Physical relaxation: Music can promote relaxation of tense muscles, enabling you to easily release some of the tension you carry from a stressful day.
Aids in stress relief activities: Music can help you get “into the zone” when practicing yoga, self hypnosis or guided imagery, can help you feel energized when exercising and recover after exercising, help dissolve the stress when you’re soaking in the tub.
Reduces negative emotions: Music, especially upbeat tunes, can take your mind off what stresses you, and help you feel more optimistic and positive. This helps release stress and can even help you keep from getting as stressed over life’s little frustrations in the future. Researchers discovered4 that music can decrease the amount of the cortisol, a stress-related hormone produced by the body in response to stress.
6: Music improves mood and decreases depression
Prescription for the blues
Music’s ability to “heal the soul” is the stuff of legend in every culture. Many people find that music lifts their spirits. Modern research tends to confirm music’s psychotherapeutic benefits5. Bright, cheerful music (e.g. Mozart, Vivaldi, bluegrass, Klezmer, Salsa, reggae) is the most obvious prescription for the blues.
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