Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Music and Stress Management...Try Mozart!

The latest research, by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the University of Sussex, had provided new evidence about how music boosts the immune system.

The researchers carried out two studies looking at the effects of music on stress hormones. After exposing around 300 people to happy dance music, the researchers measured levels of immunoglobulin A or IgA and hormones including cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone.

Results show that cortisol levels dropped significantly, while IgA levels went up considerably in those exposed to music for around 50 minutes. Effects on compounds involved in inflammation and behaviour were also seen, and mood improved noticeably in those exposed to music.

These findings provide clues to the understanding the role of music in health. Cortisol is a hormone produced in response to stress and it increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and weakens the immune system. The drop in levels of the hormone in response to music may explain the reduction in blood pressure and risk of infections found by other researchers.

The rise in IgA is also an important finding because it is an antibody that plays an essential role in protecting the body against infections and allergens.

In some cases, music has been effective as drug therapy. At the Hospital Mutua de Terrassa, in Barcelona, doctors compared the effectiveness of music to that of diazepam or Valium in reducing anxiety before surgery in 207 patients. One group had the drug, while the other listened to music on the day and eve of surgery. Just before the operation, heart rate and blood pressure were tested, and there was no difference between the two groups.

1 comment:

David Miller said...

Mozart is such a genius, such a blessed genius! The older I get, the more I develop an appreciation for his music.