We all like listening to music. It relaxes us and makes us feel good. Researchers from Juntendo University in Japan set out to prove scientifically that music can relax us and what effects listening to music have on the human mind and body. The results of their study were published February 2, 2018 in Scientific Research which was also featured December 4, 2018 in Psychology Today.
Method of the Study
The study examined blood flow, heart rate and body surface temperature in 12 female participants who listened to three different types of music. The women were divided into three age groups: 20 years, 30 years and 40 years. The women had a heart rate sensor strapped to their chests, a blood flow sensor attached to their index fingers and a thermometer to measure their body temperatures to examine their stress levels before listening to music, while listening to music and following listening to music. While sitting in chairs the women listened to five minutes of silence followed by five minutes of music followed by five more minutes of silence. This procedure was carried out by listening to three different types of music: Classical, healing and pop.
Three Different Types of Music
Classical – “Pachelbel’s Canon” by Orchestre de chambre Jean-François Paillard
Healing – “Harukanaru Kage” by Yumi Nanatsutani, which is a cover of “They Long to Be) Close to You” by the Carpenters
Japanese Pop – “Exile Pride — Konna Sekai wo Ai suru tame” by Exile
Results of the Study
Blood Flow Volume
Listening to classical music caused an increase in blood flow to the fingertips of the participants and they were more relaxed. However, no relaxing effect or increase in blood flow occurred while listening to healing music or pop music.
Both the high and low-frequency heart rate decreased while listening to music compared to the five minutes of silence before listening to music and after listening to music. When listening to classical and healing music the ratios decreased even more significantly. This showed that the sympathetic nervous system was lessened while the parasympathetic nervous system was heightened and this gave evidence of relaxation.
Body Surface Temperature
Body temperatures rose in the participants after listening to the classical and healing music, especially after listening to the healing music. This rise in body temperature was evidence of relaxation.
A relaxing effect from listening to music was seen in all three age groups for all the three things that were examined in the study: Heart rate, blood flow volume and body surface temperature.
Listening to Music Beneficial for Seniors
Music has been shown to be very beneficial to seniors including stroke survivors and seniors suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Read more about seniors and the arts in our blog post from April 12, 2019.
While listening to music, some post-stroke patients burst out into singing before they learnt how to speak again. Also, there are documented cases where stroke survivors were able to move paralyzed limbs in response to music.
While walking to the sound of music, Parkinson’s patients were able to improve their gait and lower the rate of falls.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
For people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia music acts like reminiscent therapy and triggers all kinds of memories from the past. Music also improves mood and behavior disorders, reduces agitation, irritability, depression, anxiety and delirium in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Choose a Rehab that Offers Music as Part of their Recreation Therapy
The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York has a robust array of recreational activities that include music and sing-alongs.
Since classical and healing music has been proven to be able to produce relaxation we should all spend more time listening to it.