Suffering from high blood pressure? Well then all you need to do is listen to just 30 minutes of rhythmically homogeneous music every day.
Researchers at the American Society of Hypertension's Twenty Third Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition (ASH 2008) reported that patients with mild hypertension who listened to just half an hour of classical, Celtic or raga music a day for four weeks experienced significant reductions in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (ABP).
This is the first study to examine the antihypertensive effect of music listening on ambulatory blood pressure (ABP).
"Listening to music is soothing and has often been associated with controlling patient-reported pain or anxiety and acutely reducing blood pressure," said study investigator, Prof. Pietro A. Modesti, MD, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine, Dep.Critical Care Medicine, University of Florence, Italy.
"But for the first time, today's results clearly illustrate the impact daily music listening has on ABP. 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 added.
For the study, researchers recruited a total of 48 patients aged between 45 and 70, all with mild hypertension and using pharmacological treatment.
Of these, 28 patients aged between 45 and 69, listened to 30 minutes of classical, Celtic and Indian (raga) music per day while conducting slow, controlled abdominal breathing exercises.
Twenty patients of comparable age, blood pressure values and antihypertensive treatment served as the control group.
All patients underwent ABP monitoring before randomization (baseline) and one and four weeks after treatment allocation.
Researchers found a significant systolic ABP reduction in those patients who had been listening to music daily at one and four weeks respectively.
Only small, non-significant BP reductions were revealed via 24-hour monitoring of the control group.
Researchers found that the effect on systolic blood pressure was independent from changes in heart rate because no differences between groups were observed in 24-hour mean heart rate.
"Sadly, despite the global focus on prevention, it predicted that 56 billion people worldwide will be hypertensive by 2025," said Modesti.
"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."