February is Heart Month. In addition to the love of Valentine’s Day, this month brings warmth and awareness to the risks of heart disease and stroke. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor.
Out of sight, out of mind. The hub of our bodies is often too easily neglected, yet the heart is what keeps us pulsating. Heart health impacts all that we do.
And, there’s no better prescription for healthy hearts than music.
From Bach to Beyonce to The Beatles, music arouses emotions, and brings a sense of joy and relaxation. Studies show that music stimulates blood vessel function; music increases blood flow by dilating blood vessels.
Increased blood flow helps calm and comfort moods, lower heart rates (Burns and Arke, 2002) and blood pressure, reduce heart disease (Bradt, 2009), aid respiratory conditions, relieve pain (Mitchell, Macdonald, Knussen, and Serpell, 2007), soothe and reduce anxiety (Burns and Arke, 2002; Knight, 2000), decrease irritability and stress (Bradt, 2009; Burns and Arke, 2002; Knight, 2000).
With improved moods, focus, and mental health, music is stress relieving, a coping strategy, and empowering. Music improves quality of life.
For that feel good feeling, turn up the music.
Bradt J, Dileo C. (2009). Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Burns, J. L., Labbé, E., & Arke, B. (2002). The effects of different types of music on perceived and physiological measures of stress. Journal of Music Therapy, 39 (2), 101-116.
Knight, W. J., & Rickard, N. S. (2001). Relaxing music prevents stress-induced increases in subjective anxiety, systolic blood pressure, and heart rate in healthy males and females. Journal of Music Therapy, 38(4), 254-272.
Mitchell L.A., Macdonald R.A.R., Knussen C., Serpell M.G. (2007). A survey investigation of the effects of music listening on chronic pain.Psychology of Music, 35 (1), pp. 37-57.