"If music be the food of love, play on...!"
~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act I, Scene I ~
In today's modern, Western medicine, the effects of music in the healing process are being studied and utilized across many disciplines, including those related to the heart. Since 1980, there have been a number of studies on how music affects the heart. Here are a few, quoted from a Harvard Heart Publishing Journal:
- "~ At Massachusetts General Hospital, a nurse-led team found that heart patients confined to bed who listened to music for 30 minutes had lower blood pressure, slower heart rates, and less distress than those who didn't listen to music.
- ~ Another nurse-led team at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found that heart attack survivors who listened to restful music in a quiet environment for just 20 minutes were less anxious about their health than those who rested in a quiet room without music.
- ~ At Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, men and women who listened to music soon after undergoing cardiac surgery were less anxious and reported having less pain than those who just rested quietly.
- ~ At the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, researchers measured blood flow through the forearm (a stand-in for blood vessel health) as healthy volunteers listened to music or relaxation tapes. Blood flow increased significantly while the volunteers listened to music that evoked joy or to relaxation tapes, and decreased while they listened to music that provoked anxiety.
- ~ In a study from Hong Kong, older volunteers who listened to relaxing music for 25 minutes a day for four weeks lowered their systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) by 12 points and their diastolic pressure (the bottom number) by 5 points, while a control group that didn't listen to music had no change in blood pressure.