Doctor Bunch recently wrote a review article that was published in the European Heart Journal that describes the ways that music can help in both the prevention of, and the treatment of, heart conditions.
Stimulation and Relaxation of the Heart
Two nervous systems control the stimulation and the relaxation of the heart muscle.
- The sympathetic nervous system is adrenalin mediated. This nervous system is responsible for increasing our heart rate and for the squeezing the heart does.
- The parasympathetic nervous system is what is responsible for slowing the rhythm of the heart down so that it can rest, or relax.
Music has the ability to influence these two nervous systems and thus influence the beat of our hearts, the rhythm, and the ability of the heart to relax.
Specific ways music can influence the heart
The listening to music can have a calming effect on people, or it can create excitement, and a sense of euphoria in people. Some of the ways that music can be used to help the heart are:
- To relieve anxiety during heart related procedures. People are nervous, and anxious when they have to have heart related procedures. The anxiety they feel before a procedure, and during the procedure can cause heart palpitations, and can increase risk associated with the procedure. Playing music for the patient while they are having the procedure can calm them, and lower their feelings of stress, and their fears.
- Music is able to lower the blood pressure of its listeners. When a person is under stress one of the body’s natural responses to that stress is an increase in blood pressure. Playing music for a patient with high blood pressure will slow their respiratory rates. The patient will breathe deeper while they are listening to the music. These actions will result in their blood pressure being lowered.
- Music increases the body’s production, and release of OxyContin. That means that music is capable of decreasing the amount of pain a person feels. Combining music and pain medications after major heart procedures can increase the amount of pain control a patient has. Just playing the music has a mild effect on the pain and can be used to help people to cope with angina pains at home.
- Music helps to lessen depression. Many people suffer from depression after they have heart related procedures. Listening to music increase the persons feelings of well-being and decreases their depression. When people have heart disease and they suffer from depression they are at an increased risk of developing conditions like strokes. Music can reduce these risks of heart attacks and strokes.
What this means
Medical professionals can start to incorporate music in their treatment of patients. Music can be played for patients while they undergo heart treatments, and doctors can even begin to prescribe music therapy to the patient when they leave the hospital.
Music causes no drug interactions, and it has no lasting ill effects.