Classical music directly boosts health by affecting the heart and blood circulation rhythm, says a study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.
The study concludes that such music affects the workings of the heart, arteries and lungs in ways that are beneficial and may lead to therapeutic treatments.
Researchers at the University of Pavia in Italy played random classical tracks to 24 volunteers. They found that swelling crescendos increased blood pressure and heart and respiration rates, while relaxing passages did the opposite.
The music included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Puccini’s Turandot, a Bach cantata, Va Pensiero from Verdi’s opera Nabucco, and Libiam Nei Lieti Calici from Verdi’s La Traviata.
It was found that heart and blood circulation rhythms became synchronised with musical phrases around 10 seconds long, and supports claims that music reduces stress, boosts athletic performance and enhances motor skills.
Writes Professor Luciano Bernardi: ‘The profile of music is continuously tracked by the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. This is particularly evident when music is rich in emphasis, like in operatic music. These findings increase our understanding of how music could be used in rehabilitative medicine.’