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Music to Heal the Heart?

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]

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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