Cochin Cardiac Club

Health Blog by Dr.Uday Nair



We all know that music greatly affects our mood. Music that we hear in passing and that which we do not like irritates us. On the other hand, music that we love listening to either makes us rest or energizes us depending on its beat, but nonetheless makes us feel good.

Researchers have taken this cue for their studies and found that there are actually some health benefits to listening to music. Music stimulates brainwaves, with fast beats making the mind more awake, alert and sharp. Slow music, on the other hand, calms the brain and makes it relax. Music also induces the autonomous nervous system to slow down breathing and heart rate, bringing the body to a more relaxed state. And with the body and mind relaxed, feelings of anxiety and depression are lessened.

Music can make you laugh or cry, rile you up or calm you down. Some say it’s good for the soul. It just might be good for the heart, too.

Make no mistake—daily doses of Mozart won’t clean out your arteries or fix a faulty heart valve. But music can help ease your recovery from a cardiac procedure, get you back to normal after a heart attack or stroke, relieve stress, and maybe even lower your blood pressure a tad.

As researchers have turned their attention to the effects of music on the cardiovascular system, they have found that listening to music can lower blood pressure, slow the heart rate, and lessen anxiety in people hospitalized for heart ailments. It can ease pain and distress after cardiac surgery. In otherwise healthy people, music can lower blood pressure and ease stress.

Music was able to activate the limbic system associated with emotion. When activated the limbic system, the brain becomes more relax. The music can also stimulate the body to produce the molecule nitric oxide (NO). This molecule works on the tonus of blood vessels which can reduce blood pressure.

Studies have found that music therapy is effective at promoting relaxation, relieving anxiety and stress, and treating depression. Music therapy allows people with emotional problems to explore feelings, make positive changes in mood, practice problem solving, and resolve conflicts. It can strengthen communication and physical coordination skills, and improve the physical and mental functioning of those with neurological or developmental disorders.

Music therapy can also improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients and enhance the well-being of the elderly, including those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It has also been used to complement the treatment of AIDS, stroke, Parkinson's, and cancer. Those with learning disabilities and speech and hearing problems may also find music therapy helpful.

However,only the right song which can heal the pain. Choose the type of music that is relaxing with a tempo of 60 beats per minute such as Mozart’s classical music.

Today, music therapy is most commonly used for people undergoing a cardiac procedure and for those recovering from a heart attack or learning to cope with heart failure or another cardiovascular condition, like angina or heart failure. For them, music therapy can alleviate stress, provide a pleasant coping strategy, and impart a feeling of control.

There are several ways to let music into your heart. One is to work with a music therapist. If you can’t find one through your cardiologist. Do-it-yourself music therapy is another option. Find some music that makes you feel good.

You can try to listen to the music for about 20-30 minutes each day while sitting or lying and close the eyes and make your body relax. It will be better to use headphones, so the music can be heard clearly

Listen to some Music Ladies

Whether it’s time alone with a good book or a trip to the salon, many women develop personal relaxation routines to cope with the stresses related to work, family and children.
But for many women of color, coping is not always easy.Women of color are more likely to suffer from stress-related heart illness than their counterparts.

Music has a direct effect on the heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, pain and anxiety of cardiac patient.
However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach; a consideration of gender and cultural factors is of utmost importance in designing and implementing music therapy interventions for this population.

Music therapy has been shown to have a positive effect on the mind and body.Through music therapy sessions that use culturally-relevant approaches, we hope to help women learn to cope with their stress, develop an avenue for self-expression within a supportive environment, acquire information about healthy lifestyles and reduce their risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Because of the healing properties of music, a kind of health care method called music therapy is now growing in popularity. Music therapy is now being used in some hospitals to calm down patients, to speed up healing and to alleviate pain. It is also used to treat people suffering from clinical depression or anxiety, as well as children afflicted with attention deficiency disorder.

A relaxed and well-rested mind and body is an essential ingredient to being beautiful. We do not have to be sick in order to avail of the benefits music can bring to us.

What can we do to bring the healing power of music into our lives? It is just a matter of putting some music into our day-to-day routine, which we already do on most times.

We can start our day with some upbeat music to wake ourselves up and prepare for the day ahead. Listening to music in the morning sets us up to be more ready to face and deal with stress for the duration of the day.

On the commute to work, you can play a CD of your favorite artist or band on your car stereo as you drive. Or you can have your iPod play some cool mp3's. This will relieve us of possible road rage as we plod through the traffic, as well as take our minds away from the tasks we have to accomplish once we get to the office.

When you do your work or your chores, you can either play some soothing music to aid your concentration or some fast tunes to keep your energy level high, depending on the kind of chore you have to do. In this way, a task becomes less of a chore and more of an activity filled with fun, something you may start to love doing.

On mealtimes, it is held that listening to some soothing music, particularly classical music, helps our bodies digest food better. This is because music induces the body to reduce the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, in our bloodstream. This then makes our bodies relax and able to absorb the nutrients of our food a lot better. It also enables us to enjoy our food more.

Lastly, listening to music as we drift off to sleep ensures that we get the rest that we need from our sleep. Sometimes, the tiredness and the stress from the day keep us awake even though we have lain for a long time in our beds. Soothing music calms the stress and the tiredness from our minds and aids us in falling asleep.

Music is a panacea to the mind, body and soul. A relaxed and rested body and mind, relatively free from the clutches of stress, is essential to beauty. Let the healing power of music give the rest your body and mind deserve.

Introduction to Music Therapy

Music therapy is the use of music to induce relaxation, promote healing, enhance mental functioning, and create an overall sense of well-being. Individuals doing music therapy typically listen to or perform music under the guidance of a specially trained and certified music therapist. Considered one of the "creative arts therapies" or "expressive therapies" (which include art therapy, dance therapy, writing therapy, and drama therapy), music therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies or healing treatments.
Music therapists work with all age groups, from infants to the elderly, and can be found in a variety of settings, including private practice, schools, senior centers and nursing homes, outpatient clinics, psychiatric and medical hospitals.
Music as therapy is almost as old as civilization itself.

What to Expect from Music Therapy?

Because music therapists work in many different settings and with many different kinds of patients, treatment programs and durations vary.
If you consult a music therapist for a particular condition, the therapist will first talk to you about your symptoms and needs. In addition, the therapist will assess your emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through your musical responses. Using this information, an appropriate treatment program will the be designed, which will probably include playing music, listening to music, analyzing lyrics, composing songs, improvising, and/or using rhythmic movement. During your regular sessions, the therapist may participate in these activities with you or simply guide you. You may also be encouraged to talk about the images or feelings that are evoked by the music.

You and your therapist will select the music used for your therapy according to your needs and tastes. You can choose any kind of music, from classical or New Age to jazz or rock. You do not need to have previous musical experience or even musical ability to undergo music therapy.

Some music therapy is conducted in a group setting. You might perform music with others who have the same ailment or condition as you, or interact and relax with others as music plays in the background. If you are in the hospital for surgery or to give birth, your music therapy might simply entail listening to your favorite songs to help you relax and reduce pain.

How Does Music Therapy Work?

Most people tend to experience a visceral reaction to music: a burst of energy upon hearing an upbeat song or a sense of calm during a soothing classical piece. Music therapy harnesses this connection between music and mood. Moreover, scientific studies show that music can affect physiological functions, such as respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure, as well. Music has also been shown to lower amounts of the hormone cortisol, which becomes elevated under stress, and to increase the release of endorphins, the body’s natural "feel-good" hormones.

Music therapists often use music to communicate. With its beat, melody, and lyrics, music is a kind of language in and of itself. Because of this, music therapy can be used to help the mentally and physically disabled express themselves. It can also encourage introverted patients to become more outgoing and can be used to draw schizophrenic and autistic patients out of their isolated worlds.

Music therapy can also be beneficial for stroke victims and other patients with neurological problems through a process called "entrainment." When patients listen to rhythmic music, their muscle movements become synchronized with the beat. As their motions become more regular and efficient, their motor skills improve in turn. Entrainment can also induce a sedative, relaxing response if the music has a slow, steady rhythm.

Music therapy can also distract patients from negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences. For example, the therapy has been effective at helping keep people's minds from dwelling on the pain of dental work, surgery, and labor

Other Mind-Body Methods

Music is just one of many techniques that have been promoted for healing the mind and body. Others include:

Transcendental meditation. Practicing the art of transcendental meditation can lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar and insulin levels, and ease stress. Other calming strategies, such as yoga or the relaxation response, can do the same.

Massage. After heart surgery, a simple massage decreased pain levels. Whether massage affects the heart in other ways isn't well known, but a gentle massage is  certainly relaxing and stress releasing.

Tai chi. The combination of simple, flowing movements and deep breathing in tai chi offers a safe, rejuvenating form of exercise for people with heart failure.

Guided imagery. A program of directed thoughts and suggestions that help you imagine a relaxed, focused state can lower blood pressure and reduce other problems related to stress.

Prayer. Personal prayer can help evoke the relaxation response, which can reduce your own stress, while praying for a loved one or friend may provide emotional or spiritual support that reduces his or her stress.

Humor. Laughter may be good medicine for the heart and circulation.It is known to reduce tension and stress in our day to day life.

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