Ancient civilizations used music in their healing rituals. Now an Italian study suggests that the tempo and volume of music can have profound physiological effects on the human body. The subjects were 24 young healthy Italians. Half were aspiring singers while the other half had no musical training.
Listening to rhythmic musical phrases from Verdi resulted in heart rhythm changes. Crescendos increased heart rate and blood pressure while decrescendos slowed heart rate and lower blood pressure. The listeners’ emotional response to the music did not influence the outcome. The scientists conclude that music may be helpful for cardiovascular conditions through its effect on the nervous system.
[Circulation, June 30, 2009]