(NaturalNews) If you have hypertension, listening to soothing music for a half hour a day while breathing deeply can significantly reduce your blood pressure without drugs. That's the conclusion of a new study just presented at the American Society of Hypertension's Twenty Third Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition (ASH 2008).
The research, the first to examine the anti-high blood pressure impact of music listening on ambulatory blood pressure (ABP), documented that patients with mild hypertension who listened to just half an hour of classical, Celtic or Indian (raga) music a day for four weeks experienced significant reductions in 24-hour ABP.
"Listening to music is soothing and has often been associated with controlling patient-reported pain or anxiety and acutely reducing blood pressure," study investigator Pietro A. Modesti, MD, PhD, an internal medicine specialist in the department of critical care medicine at the University of Florence, Italy, said in a prepared statement for the press. "But for the first time, today's results clearly illustrate the impact daily music listening has on ABP. We are excited about the positive implications for both patients and physicians, who can now confidently explore music listening as a safe, effective, non-pharmacological treatment option or a complement to therapy."
The researchers looked at 48 patients aged between 45 and 70. All were diagnosed with mild hypertension and were on medications for their high blood pressure. Of these, 28 patients aged between 45 and 69, listened to 30 minutes of classical, Celtic and raga music per day while conducting slow, controlled abdominal breathing exercises. Another 20 patients of comparable age and hypertension who were also on antihypertensive treatment served as the control group. All the people in the study underwent ABP monitoring before the study began and one and four weeks after the music "treatment" was started.
The results revealed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure(the top number in a blood pressure reading that represents the pressure when the heart is resting between beats) in those patients who had been listening to music daily. However, those in the control group only experienced non-significant blood pressure changes.
"Sadly, despite the global focus on prevention, it is predicted that 56 billion people worldwide will be hypertensive by 2025," said Modesti. "In light of these devastating statistics, it is reassuring to consider that something as simple, easy and enjoyable as daily music listening combined with slow abdominal breathing, may help people naturally lower their blood pressure."
Hypertension is a common disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or greater) and is responsible for causing at least five million premature deaths each year worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. However, almost one third of the people with hypertension don't know that they have it.
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