[Music and health--what kind of music is helpful for whom? What music not?]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2009 Dec;134(51-52):2601-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1243066.
[Article in German]


It is well known that music not only may improve quality of life (QoL) but also have different effects on heart rate (HR) and its variability (HRV). Music emphasis and rhythmic phrases are tracked consistently by physiological variables. Autonomic responses are synchronized with music, which might therefore convey emotions through autonomic arousal during crescendos or rhythmic phrases. A greater modulation of HR, HRV and modulations in cardiac autonomic nerve activity was revealed with a greater effect for music performance than music perception. Reactions to music are considered subjective, but studies suggested that cardiorespiratory variables are influenced under different circumstances. It has been shown that relaxing music decreases significantly the level of anxiety in a preoperative setting to a greater extent than orally administered midazolam (p < 0,001). Higher effectiveness and absence of apparent adverse effects make preoperative relaxing music a useful alternative to midazolam for premedication. In addition, there is sufficient practical evidence of stress reduction to suggest that a proposed regimen of listening to music while resting in bed after open heart surgery. Music intervention should be offered as an integral part of the multimodal regime administered to the patients that have undergone cardiovascular surgery. It is a supportive source that increases relaxation. Music is also effective in under conditions and music can be utilized as an effective intervention for patients with depressive symptoms, geriatrics and in pain, intensive care or palliative medicine. However, careful selected music that incorporates a patient's own preferences may offer an effective method to reduce anxiety and to improve quality of life. The most benefit on health is visible in classic music, meditation music whereas heavy metal music or technosounds are even ineffective or dangerous and will lead to stress and/or life threatening arrhythmias. There are many composers most effectively to improve QoL, particularly Bach, Mozart and Italian composers are "ideal".

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Auditory Perception
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Perception
  • Quality of Life*
  • Relaxation / physiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology