Why Music Is Good For Your Heart

The next time your spouse complains about your way off-key singing in the shower, you'll have scientific evidence on your side that demonstrates to him or her just how valuable it can be to your health.

Well, sort of...

Scientists from Italy and Great Britain compared the effect music can have to relieve stress on 24 patients, divided equally by musicians and non-musicians. Each patient listened to short tracks of different kinds of music -- classical, rap, modern, Raga (Indian music) -- randomly at various tempos for two minutes (separated by two-minute pauses), followed by the same selections for four minutes.

Faster music and more complex rhythms -- no matter what style -- accelerated a patient's breathing and circulation. And, as you can imagine, slower music created larger drops in heart rate. Even more interesting, those who played instruments enjoyed a greater benefit because they had been trained to synchronize their breathing with their music.

Don't worry if you can't play an instrument or carry a tune. Merely listening to music while you're exercising can boost your brain power and promote health and healing.

Heart September 30, 2005

BBC News September 28, 2005

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