In the study conducted over 41 elderly participants, the researchers found that an audio relaxation program reduced hypertension in older adults.
Twenty participants were asked to listen to a 12-minute audio-guided relaxation-training program (ATP) with background sounds of ocean waves and a calming voice for three times a week for four months.
While another group of 21 participants listened to a 12-minute Mozart sonata.
The researchers recorded systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and heart rate before and after each session.
It showed blood pressure in ATP reduced from 141/73 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) to 132/70 mmHg, and those listening to Mozart music, the blood pressure lowered from 141/71 mmHg to 134/69 mmHg
The heart rates reduced from 73 to 70 beats per minute in patients asked to listen to ATP, in contrast from 69 to 66 beats per minute in those listening to Mozart music
"Physiologic augmentation is difficult to achieve, especially with blood pressure study, because people can only lower their blood pressure to a certain extent," said Jean Tang, Ph.D., ARNP, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Seattle University.
"A 3 percent-5 percent change has been used as the cutting point in clinical research. It has been suggested that a 5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure would result in a 9 percent reduction in coronary heart disease related death and 14 percent reduction in stroke related death," Tang added.
The decrease in systolic blood pressure 6.4 percent, compared to 5 percent in Mozart group.
The ATP sessions consisted of listening with headphones to a CD of ocean waves in the background - a binaural sound that is calming while a voice guides listeners to relax from head to toe and do deep abdominal breathing.
Binaural tones are a special kind of stereophonic sound that incorporates two tones, which are of two different frequencies for brainwave entrainment.
"The binaural sound regulates the brain waves to the alpha range, which produces a calming effect allowing participants to concentrate," Tang said.
"The relaxation method affects the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers the blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.
"Both groups did really well in reducing their blood pressures. But the guided relaxation group did a little bit better," Tang added.