It’s well known that songs can help to support physical and mental health, but can music lower blood pressure to the extent that it could be considered helpful? Researchers have been looking into exactly that question, since hypertension impacts millions of people around the world, and affordable, accessible ways of controlling it instead of – or in support of – medications could help to lower other health risks worldwide.
Can Music Lower Blood Pressure?
The short answer to the question about whether music can lower blood pressure is “yes”. However, before you toss your prescriptions and pop on some headphones, it’s important to know that this is not exactly the way it works.
Researchers have determined that any mindfulness practice that helps to root an individual in the presence will momentarily reduce stress and as a result can help to lower blood pressure. This includes the impact of music, as well as other mindfulness practices such as slow breathing, meditation and several forms of yoga.
When you’re anchored in the moment, and when you create calmness in that moment, stress eases, and the heartbeat slows down. In this way, yes, music lowers blood pressure measurably but temporarily.
The way calming music lowers blood pressure is through the reduction of stress overall. When that happens, the sympathetic drive also reduces. The sympathetic drive is the body’s fight-or-flight response. When that kicks in, the respiration, heart rate and blood pressure rise. When it’s eased, so are they.
Can You Treat Hypertension with the Right Songs?
Unfortunately, the impact of music on blood pressure lowering isn’t lasting enough to replace other treatments for hypertension. That said, it is considered to be a helpful technique to support the benefits of medications and other strategies for controlling hypertension.
Music therapy is, therefore, often recommended along with other stress and relaxation exercises. This is particularly true among patients suffering from both hypertension and high stress, anxiety, and/or pain. The therapy helps to divert the mind from the negative situations or pain in a way that is similar to breathing exercises. This can help to ease stresses that have risen higher than normal like a kind of reset button. It won’t stop them from returning, but it can help to cut into the climb.
Though therapy including music to lower blood pressure might not be enough to stop you from needing your medication, listening to soft, relaxing or classical music can not only help you to feel better, but it can also temporarily ease your hypertension. If you’re not in the mood for instrumentals, nature sounds such as whale song, waves, or birds singing have also been found to be soothing in a similar way. It can help in a similar way to how a sleep supplement might temporarily make you feel more restful so you can fall asleep at night.