NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Listening to half an hour of music each day may significantly lower your blood pressure, according to research reported at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in New Orleans this week.
In the study, researchers found that people with mild hypertension (high blood pressure) who listened to classical, Celtic or Indian (raga) music for just 30 minutes a day for one month had significant reductions in their blood pressure.
"Listening to music is soothing and has often been associated with controlling patient-reported pain or anxiety and acutely reducing blood pressure," study investigator Dr. Pietro A. Modesti, of the University of Florence in Italy, noted in a written statement from the meeting. "But for the first time, today's results clearly illustrate the impact daily music listening has on ambulatory blood pressure."
Ambulatory blood pressure refers to readings taken repeatedly over the course of a day.
A total of 48 adults ages 45 to 70 who were taking medication to control mild hypertension took part in the study. Of these, 28 listened to 30 minutes of "rhythmically homogenous" classical, Celtic or raga music daily while practicing slow, controlled breathing exercises. The remaining 20 participants, serving as the control group, made no changes to their daily routine.
Blood pressure readings obtained one and four weeks later showed that systolic blood pressure - the top number in the blood pressure reading - dropped significantly in the music listeners. In contrast, the control group experienced only small, non-significant reductions in blood pressure.
"We are excited about the positive implications for both patients and physicians, who can now confidently explore music listening as a safe, effective, non-pharmacological treatment option or a complement to therapy," Modesti said.
"Sadly, despite the global focus on prevention, it is predicted that 56 billion people worldwide will be hypertensive by 2025," Modesti added. "In light of these devastating statistics, it is reassuring to consider that something as simple, easy and enjoyable as daily music listening combined with slow abdominal breathing, may help people naturally lower their blood pressure."