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Proven! Music Lowers Blood Pressure
Listening to music not only lowers blood pressure, but also it does so nearly as effectively as cutting salt from your diet or exercising, according to researchers from Ruhr University in Germany. But there is one big gotcha: It has to be classical music.

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The study: Led by Hans-Joachim Trappe, the team played Mozart's "Symphony No. 40 in G Minor," various dances by Johann Strauss and ABBA songs to 60 volunteers. Each person's blood pressure was taken before and after listening to the music.

The results:

  • Mozart lowered systolic blood pressure by 4.7 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.1 mm Hg.

  • Strauss lowered systolic blood pressure by 3.7 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.9 mm Hg.

  • The Swedish pop group ABBA had no effect on blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure, which is the top number, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (that is, when the heart muscle contracts). Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood. "mm HG" is read as millimeters of mercury. Normal blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association, is a systolic number less than 120 and a diastolic number less than 80.

Numerous other studies have shown that aerobic exercise--which is exercise that gets the heart beating quickly, such as running or cycling--lowers blood pressure, as does reducing salt in the diet.

The German team concluded that for music to be a benefit in lowering blood pressure it must have the following attributes: a pleasant key, skillfully composed, consistent volume and rhythm, no rousing sequences, no lyrics and achieved a certain degree of fame and popularity.

The research was published in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International.

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