Can Classical Music Improve Your Mental and Physical Health?

By Philip Trapp on Mar 28, 2016 09:06 PM EDT

Can listening to classical music favorably affect your health? Numerous studies have posited its advantageous effects on blood pressure, cognition and stress -- just to name a few.

A quick online search of such topics will provide multiple results to peruse. Can these be trusted as medical fact, or disregarded as pseudo-science? While there is certainly disreputable information to be found on the Internet, there are indeed numerous scientific studies that have delved into the long-held idea of a music as a health stabilizer.

Studies conducted at Oxford University yielded findings that listening to classical music can lower one's blood pressure and help prevent heart disease. Speaking to The Telegraph, author and cardiologist Peter Sleight considered music's soothing properties, while identifying medical analysis that has shown its influence on heart health:

"Music is already being used commercially as a calming therapy but this has happened independent of controlled studies into its effectiveness." [...] "Our research has provided improved understanding as to how music, particularly certain rhythms, can affect your heart and blood vessels."

Even the so-called "Mozart Effect" has been gaining adherents in recent years. The hypothesis developed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis claimed that listening to Mozart promoted brain development in young children. The theory was further publicized by multiple studies into its effects.

Dr. Sylvain Moreno, scientist at the Center for Brain Fitness at the University of Toronto's Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest, helmed a study examining the concept. Dividing groups of children ages 4-6 into classes studying either solely music theory or art composition, the kids studying music showed appreciable intelligence scores after the fact.

As Dr. Moreno reported to San Francisco Classical Voice, the children's training boosts the theory that music study can be a powerful tool in brain advancement:

"[M]usic training is incredibly powerful, and there is a special link between music and these core skills of the brain. ... This curriculum, through the power of music, is like a switch button for the cognitive development of children. You turn the switch on to learn."

Most classical music fans would probably agree that listening to their favorite composer or score will help their mood and promote relaxation. It is encouraging to know that these benefits to our temperament can also go toward promoting good health.

So, go ahead and cue up your next classical music playlist for studying -- just be wary of fatuous articles claiming classical music's health benefits as a stunt.

Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a doctor and this website does not provide medical advice. Please discuss any health concerns with your physician or a qualified health care provider.

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TagsClassical Music, Health