Originally published in Massage Bodywork magazine, February/March 2006. Copyright 2006. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
Listening to music may enhance heart health, according to a recent study conducted at Italy's University of Pavia. Researchers followed the heart rates, breathing, and blood pressures of 24 participants as they listened to random selections of music for 20 minutes while lying at rest. Selections varied from Indian music and classical to techno and rap. Interestingly enough, personal taste didn't seem to affect the results. Rather, tempo became the prime determinant in affecting measurements. For example, fast tempos drove up heart beats, breathing, and blood pressure, while slower tempos were calming. Altogether, though, any music proved beneficial, as during pauses between styles, heart rates, breathing, and blood pressure improved beyond that seen before the participants listened to any music. Researchers say this suggests that any type of music -- fast or slow -- may have beneficial effects on the heart.