Personally, I love music. I’m a musician and have to admit that music is and always has been a passion of mine. Whether I’m teaching, performing, singing, playing or writing, there is nothing (next to my family and faith) that evokes quite so much pleasure and joy in my life. In many ways, music completes me and I’ve found that it has a power to heal a multitude of ills and attitudes. I am, naturally, quite prejudiced when it comes to music. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience and enjoy music as much as I do whether it’s singing and playing professionally or simply singing in the shower or jamming with friends around a campfire. When it comes to music, it’s all good!
Because of my love of music, I found myself quite intrigued when I saw a headline indicating that music, specifically “joyful” music, may provide a benefit to promoting a healthy heart and lower ones risk of heart disease. Could we really sing or listen our way to a healthy heart? I had to know more!
Since the rise of behavioral cardiology as a discipline, many researchers are beginning to explore the mind-body link in more detail and examine how our emotional well-being, happiness, sadness, depression, reactions to stress, positive attitude or outlook, and anxiety may impact our heart health and health in general. The University of Maryland School of Medicine conducted a small but intriguing study on something near and dear to my heart, music, and how listening to it may impact our heart health both positively and negatively.
As mentioned, the study was small and consisted of ten persons. Thirty percent of the participants were women and the median age was 36 years. The study consisted of a four separate and distinct phases, each of which involved listening to music or watching videos and then measuring the physical reactions to the sessions. Two of the sessions consisted of music that was participant selected. The remaining two sessions consisted of music selected by the research staff. The phases were as follows:
Phase 1, Participant Selected Music - Joyful.