Sound therapy induced relaxation: down regulating stress processes and pathologies

Med Sci Monit. 2003 May;9(5):RA96-RA101.


The use of music as a means of inducing positive emotions and subsequent relaxation has been studied extensively by researchers. A great deal of this research has centered on the use of music as a means of reducing feelings of anxiety and stress as well as aiding in the relief of numerous pathologies. The precise mechanism responsible for these mediated effects has never been truly determined. In the current report we propose that nitric oxide (NO) is the molecule chiefly responsible for these physiological and psychological relaxing effects. Furthermore this molecules importance extends beyond the mechanistic, and is required for the development of the very process that it mediates. Nitric oxide has been determined to aid in the development of the auditory system and participate in cochlear blood flow. We show that NO is additionally responsible for the induced exhibited physiological effects. We proceed to outline the precise neurochemical pathway leading to these effects. Furthermore we explore the interrelationship between the varying emotion centers within the central nervous system and explain how the introduction of music can mediate its effects via NO coupled to these complex pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Music Therapy*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*


  • Nitric Oxide