Music versus lifestyle on the autonomic nervous system of prehypertensives and hypertensives--a randomized control trial

Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):733-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.08.003. Epub 2015 Aug 5.


Objectives: Ragas of Indian music are said to be beneficial in normalizing blood pressure (BP). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of passive listening to relaxing raga on the autonomic functions of hypertensives and prehypertensives and provide scientific evidence.

Methods: Ethical clearance was obtained from the institutional review board. A prospective, randomized controlled trial was done on hundred prehypertensives/stage I hypertensives, randomly divided into two groups (n=50 in each). Group 1 received music intervention along with lifestyle modifications while Group 2 received only lifestyle modifications (according to Joint national committee VII guidelines). Group 1 listened to raga bhimpalas played on flute for 15min daily for at least 5 days/week for 3 months. The main outcome measures were heart rate variability (HRV) (Power lab 15T, AD Instruments), BP and stress levels (State Trait anxiety inventory score). All HRV variables were log transformed for analysis. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 18.0 with P<0.05 being considered statistically significant.

Results: Group 1 exhibited significant reduction in stress levels, diastolic BP and systolic BP decreased in Group 2 after intervention. Insignificant rise in parasympathetic parameters of HRV (SDNN, RMSSD, HF ms(2), HF nu) was seen after intervention in both the groups. We found significantly increased parasympathetic and lower sympathetic parameters (LF ms(2), LF nu, LF/HF) in Group 1 and 2 males and females of Group 2. The results suggest that females of Group 1 were least compliant with the given intervention.

Conclusions: Passive listening to Indian music along with conventional lifestyle modifications has a role in normalizing BP through autonomic function modification and thus can be used as a complementary therapy along with other lifestyle modifications.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; Hypertension; Lifestyle modifications; Music.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy*
  • Prehypertension / therapy*