A new study published in the journal Heart reveal that slow music can be good for the heart because it has a relaxing effect. Slow and meditative music was shown to be able to slow down the rates of respiration and beating of the heart.
In the current study, researchers monitored breathing rate, blood pressure and other heart and respiratory indexes, in 24 healthy young men and women, before and while listening to short excerpts of different kinds of music including slow and fast classical music of differing complexities and rap music. They also monitored the subjects during 2-minute musical intermissions.
Half of the subjects were trained musicians; the other half had no musical training.
The investigators report that listening to music initially produced varying levels of arousal --- accelerated breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate — that is directly proportional to the tempo of the music and perhaps the complexity of the rhythm.
They also found that calm is induced by slower rhythms and, interestingly, by short pauses or intermissions in the music.
Pausing the music for 2 minutes actually induces a condition of relaxation greater than that observed before subjects began listening to the music tracks, the investigators report.
[ABC News, Oct 07 2005 ]