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Scientists: Music therapy induces relaxation, can be used for stress intervention

Researchers from Sahmyook University in South Korea studied the effects of music therapy on stress by monitoring study participants’ cardiovascular and autonomic nervous systems, among others. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

  • Stress results from a person’s abilities being tested or a person being placed under duress. It occurs when a potential threat to one’s well-being appears.
  • To test the effects of music therapy on stress, the researchers conducted a randomized control trial involving 64 university students. They divided the participants into two groups: the experimental group (33 students) and the control group (31 students).
  • The experimental group received music therapy, while the control group did not receive any treatment.
  • The researchers measured cardiovascular indicators (blood pressure and pulse), autonomic nervous activity, and subjective stress at baseline before giving the participants a series of tasks meant to induce stress.
  • After inducing stress, the researchers measured the parameters once again. They reported that there was not much difference in the results of the first and second measurements between the two groups.
  • The researchers then let the experimental group listen to classical music while the control group simply rested. Afterward, they measured the same parameters once again.
  • The researchers reported that the variables between the two groups differed significantly. There was a significant gap in both groups’ systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse, autonomic nervous activity, and subjective stress levels.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that listening to music could help relax the body and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This suggested the possibility of using music therapy for stress reduction.

Journal Reference:

Lee KS, Jeong HC, Yim JE, Jeon MY. EFFECTS OF MUSIC THERAPY ON THE CARDIOVASCULAR AND AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM IN STRESS-INDUCED UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 15 January 2016;22(1):59–65. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0079

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