Heal Yourself with Music
Plug in to some Bach or Beatles, and your heart will happily sing along. Listening to music is a low-cost, drug-free way to stay healthy. It wakes up your body’s natural healing ability to help you fight off disease.
A study of people with high blood pressure showed great results. When they listened to music for about a half-hour daily while practicing slow, deep-breathing exercises, their blood pressure went down. The researchers tried rhythmic classical, Celtic, or Indian music in the four-week study. People had an average drop in systolic blood pressure of about 4 mmHg. Other research found similar results.
Listening to music is a great stress reliever, and some experts think it works so well it can help keep you young. Long-term stress can break down your immune system, so doing something to avoid stress may boost your immunity. Researchers say listening to music you’re especially fond of may really do the trick. It helps you relax, so blood vessels expand to let blood flow more smoothly. That’s the same thing that happens when you laugh or take a statin drug.
Make your own music, and you’ll really see some benefits. You don’t have to take up playing an instrument — just hum a happy tune. It’s the easiest health-booster ever.
How does it work? When you hum, your body’s cells release nitric oxide, a gas that works in your brain to calm you down. That’s why some experts suggest you try humming when you face a stressful event, like getting your blood drawn or having a flu shot. Believe it or not, researchers tested just how much more nitric oxide you produce when you hum compared to when you breathe out silently. They found you make about 15 times as much of this safe, natural body chemical.
Nitric oxide also helps your blood vessels relax, or dilate, so blood can flow more easily and your blood pressure goes down. Getting this nitric oxide boost by humming will also improve your immunity and calm your mind — plus it clears your sinuses. And you can do it anywhere.
- FC&A Staff Writer