Music and the human body


Music can have many effects on the human body. It can be used for things like drowning out unpleasant sounds and feelings to encouraging the release of tension. Some of the many effects that music can have on the human body are:

  • Masks unpleasant feelings and sounds

  • Affects the blood pressure and pulse rate

  • Affects respiration

  • Regulates stress

  • Reduces muscle tension and improving body movement and coordination

  • Strengthens our memory and learning

  • Boosts the body's immune system

  • Enhances romance and sexuality

  • Boosts productivity

  • Generates a sense of well-being and safety

  • Fosters endurance

This long list makes you start to see why music can make a large influence on many people.

Masks unpleasant feelings and sounds

Music can drown out or help mask unpleasant sounds and feelings in many ways. An example of this is the dentist. The dentist plays music in the background while he is using the drill. Although this does not drown out the sound of the drill, it gives the patient something else to focus on.

Affects respiration

The rate at which you breath can be affected by the music you are listening to. Slow music is known to calm you down. This calmness promotes a slower breathing rate.

On the other end of the scale is the fast music. This music will make you more awake and aware of your surroundings. This means fast music can increase your respiration rate.

Affects the blood pressure and pulse rate

This is similar to the affect music has on the respiration. As your breathing slows down when you are listening to calming music, your blood pressure and pulse rate also fall. This is simply due to you relaxing and taking things easy.

Fast music makes you want to get up an move. It is this extra movement that fast music promotes that causes your blood pressure and pulse rate to rise when you listen to faster music.

Reduces muscle tension and improving body movement and coordination

Slower music can reduce muscle tension and improve body movement and coordination. A study done at Colorado State University in 1991 showed that music has a direct affect on coordination. 24 undergraduate women had to complete a range of physical exercises including the striking of objects. When music was played, the women coordinated their movements and swings with the beat, instead of going at their own rate. The rhythm and timing of the music helped the women to know when to start their swings and gauge how fast to move.

Regulates stress

The calming effect of music can also help relieve stress. The simple act of listening to a relaxing piece of music helps you relax. This relaxation is the best method to relieve stress.

Published: 7 January 2005

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