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Oct 13, 2015

Music Boosts Heart Health

Music’s effect on heart activity, blood pressure and breathing bodes well for health.

Music has a small yet positive impact on heart health, according to a review of recent studies analyzing the relationship between music and changes in the body.

Published in the European Heart Journal, this paper reviewed existing evidence related to music and cardiovascular health. As authors explain, music can have a powerful impact on emotions and mood. Depending on the type of song, music can help energize or calm you, or even provoke memories from the past. It’s no surprise that many studies have explored the effects of music on the heart and overall health.

After reviewing past research, authors found that music is associated with a number of markers of heart health. First, studies suggest that compared to silence, music tends to increase heart rate and speed up breathing. Faster music also speeds up heart rate and breathing more than slower music. One study found that unpleasant music is associated with a decrease in heart rate compared to pleasant music.

Research suggests that music may also improve the health of patients living with heart disease. Past studies have found that not only can music reduce pain and anxiety, it may help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Since depression is common among patients with heart disease, it’s possible that music could help relieve symptoms and improve overall mood.

However, as authors explain, the effects of music on the heart are minor. Compared to well-established factors that impact heart health—like diet and exercise—it’s likely that music doesn’t have a major impact. Still, authors encourage future research on the issue. If music can improve mood or heart function, it may offer yet another way for patients to improve both mental and physical health.

Questions for You to Consider

  • Can mental health affect heart health?
  • Yes. Although there’s still much to learn, research suggests there is a close connection between mental and cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that patients with a mental illness, like depression, are at increased risk for heart disease. It’s also possible that having heart disease increases risk for depression and can worsen outcomes. It’s important to discuss all aspects of health, including mental health, with your doctor.
  • How can I help reduce stress levels?

  • There are many methods for reducing stress, including exercise, meditation and deep breathing. Stress can affect adults in different ways, so it is important to try different stress reduction approaches in order to find one that works best for you.

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