Music Sets Beat for Heart and Lungs Monday, Dec 28 2009 

 by Luciano Bernardi, MD

Some people love classical music, others prefer country — but regardless of our individual preferences, our bodies will respond to music in the same way. So much so, in fact, that new research from Italy demonstrates that music affects cardiovascular functioning and breathing in such a predictable way it may someday be used as a medical tool.

We’re all familiar with how music can impact our emotions, whether energizing or soothing. Research has also established that music can be used to elicit a relaxation response useful for health purposes, for example for preoperative patients and others under stress. Now this study finds that the physiological responses music triggers were virtually identical for all people in the study group.

Research Notes

 The Italian study included 24 healthy participants, half of whom were experienced choir singers, and the rest with no music training at all. Participants listened in random order to short selections from five classical compositions, including Verdi’s operatic aria “Nessun dorma” from Turandot and the orchestral adagio from Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” (Symphony No. 9 in D minor). Although the participants said they had no particular emotional response or preference for any of the music selections, they all showed similar subconscious autonomic response, which also corresponded to the compositions both in degree and timing. For example, crescendos or swelling of the music induced skin vasoconstriction and increases in blood pressure and heart rates… and, in a more complex response, participants synchronized modulation of the cardiovascular system (through naturally occurring fluctuations in arterial pressure) with the rhythm of the music. Where other researchers have accomplished this with yoga and prayer, this study achieved success by playing certain pieces of music.

 When I contacted the lead author of the study, Luciano Bernardi, MD, of Pavia University in Pavia, Italy, he told me that the study shows that the physiological effects of music are predictable. For instance, he says, blood pressure “tends to follow the musical profile,” dropping with slow meditative music and increasing at faster tempi. This provides a better understanding of how music works to affect the body and thus the role it could eventually fill therapeutically, Dr. Bernardi said. So it appears that we now have yet another instrument with which doctors can practice “the art” of medicine.


Luciano Bernardi, MD, professor of internal medicine, Pavia University, Pavia, Italy.


Great Quote Saturday, Dec 26 2009

Teddy Roosevelt

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, Certainly I can! Then get busy and find out how to do it! – Theodore Roosevelt

Great Quote Wednesday, Dec 16 2009

Earl Nightingale

Our first journey is to find that special place for us. ~ Earl Nightingale

Feed your head – Blessings Tuesday, Dec 8 2009 

Blessings Occur by Ronald Wallace

Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.

All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.

Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.

Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
I can
take it with me.