Newswise — Listening to just 30 minutes of rhythmically homogeneous music every day may significantly reduce high blood pressure, according to researchers at the American Society of Hypertension's Twenty Third Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition (ASH 2008). In the first study to examine the antihypertensive effect of music listening on ambulatory blood pressure (ABP), today's findings reveal that patients with mild hypertension who listened to just half an hour of classical, Celtic or raga music a day for four weeks experienced significant reductions in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (ABP).

Hypertension is a common disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or greater) and is responsible for causing at least five million premature deaths each year worldwide.1

"Listening to music is soothing and has often been associated with controlling patient-reported pain or anxiety and acutely reducing blood pressure," said study investigator, Prof. Pietro A. Modesti, MD, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine, Dep.Critical Care Medicine, University of Florence, Italy. "But for the first time, today's results clearly illustrate the impact daily music listening has on ABP. We are excited about the positive implications for both patients and physicians, who can now confidently explore music listening as a safe, effective, non-pharmacological treatment option or a complement to therapy."

A total of 48 patients aged between 45 and 70, all with mild hypertension and using pharmacological treatment, took part in the study. Of these, 28 patients aged between 45 and 69, listened to 30 minutes of classical, Celtic and Indian (raga) music per day while conducting slow, controlled abdominal breathing exercises. Twenty patients of comparable age, blood pressure values and antihypertensive treatment served as the control group. All patients underwent ABP monitoring before randomization (baseline) and one and four weeks after treatment allocation.

The study results revealed a significant systolic ABP reduction in those patients who had been listening to music daily (-3.2±5.6 and -4.4±5.3 mm Hg, p<0.01 vs baseline for both) at one and four weeks respectively. Only small, non significant BP reductions were revealed via 24-hour monitoring of the control group. The effect on systolic blood pressure was independent from changes in heart rate because no differences between groups were observed in 24-hour mean heart rate.

"Sadly, despite the global focus on prevention, it predicted that 56 billion people worldwide will be hypertensive by 2025," said Modesti. "In light of these devastating statistics, it is reassuring to consider that something as simple, easy and enjoyable as daily music listening combined with slow abdominal breathing, may help people naturally lower their blood pressure."

About the American Society of HypertensionThe American Society of Hypertension (ASH) is the largest U.S. professional organization of scientific investigators and healthcare professionals committed to eliminating hypertension and its consequences. ASH is dedicated to promoting strategies to prevent hypertension and to improving the care of patients with hypertension and associated disorders. The Society serves as a scientific forum that bridges current hypertension research with effective clinical treatment strategies for patients. References 1. Cardiovascular Diseases " Prevention and Control, WHO, 2001-2002

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American Society of Hypertension's Twenty Third Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition (ASH 2008)