World Hypertension Day: How music impacts blood pressure
Singer Elton John once said, ‘Music has healing power’. And this is something even medical science agrees with. On World Hypertension Day today, experts help us uncover the therapeutic side of music! Several studies suggest that the calming effect of music can help lower blood pressure. “Anything that helps us anchor in the present moment reduces stress and listening to calming music is one of them. As the stress levels reduce, the sympathetic drive (the fight or flight response that increases heart rate and blood pressure) reduces,” says Dr Sudhir Vaishnav, cardiologist.
In case of high blood pressure, the heart rate and breathing goes up. In such a situation, music therapy can help alleviate the stress levels, thus relieving the feeling of anxiety and stress. “This, in turn, brings down the heart rate to normal levels and ultimately results in a slight, but meaningful decrease in the blood pressure. The effect of music therapy is similar to breathing exercises that people commonly practice for anxiety and stress relaxation. Music therapy can also act as a diversion tactic from pain or negative situations,” says Dr Vivek Mahajan, consultant - cardiac surgery, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
Experts advice listening to soft, relaxing or classical music, as they help ease the heart rate, which, in turn, helps bring the blood pressure under control. “Studies that use music therapy prefer music that is quiet, comfortable and soothing. These include instrumental music pieces like flutes and pianos. The treatments also include natural sounds such as ocean waves or the chirping of birds or flowing water. These relieve the anxiety and stress while creating a relaxing atmosphere that diverts a patient’s attention and makes them feel good,” adds Dr Mahajan.
Loud music with fast beats, on the other hand, induces excitement and high heart rate. “Listening to disco or really fast-paced, loud music may have a paradoxical effect,” adds Dr Vaishnav.