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Music Hath Charms to Calm Hypertension
Date:5/14/2008

But the finding isn't meant to encourage patients to throw out their medications

WEDNESDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Italian researchers have some advice for those with high blood pressure: Breathe slowly. Turn on some quiet, rhythmic music. And watch your high blood pressure take a little tumble.

The researchers base their conclusions on a small new study. But they aren't suggesting anyone turn to breathing exercises and music instead of medicine.

Still, "easy and enjoyable daily music listening combined with slow abdominal breathing may help people naturally lower their blood pressure," said Dr. Pietro A. Modesti, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Florence.

In what's touted as the first study of its kind, Modesti and his colleagues recruited 48 patients to study the effect of listening to music on blood pressure. The patients, who ranged in age from 60 to 76, all suffered from mild high blood pressure and took medication for it.

Of the patients, 28 listened to 30 minutes of classical, Celtic or raga music a day while conducting slow, controlled deep-breathing exercises. (Raga, an ancient kind of music, was developed in India.)

All the music was slow and rhythmic.

Another 20 patients served as a control group and didn't undergo the music and breathing therapy.

On average, the blood pressure among those who listened to music dropped by 3 mmHG at one week and 4 mmHG at one month, compared to people in the control group.

Doctors consider healthy blood pressure to be below 140/90 mmHG. High blood pressure -- hypertension -- is thought to affect one in three adult Americans, although many don't realize they have it. The condition can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and stroke, among other problems.

The study authors also found that other non-drug "interventions" -- including restriction of salt intake, exercise and limits on alcoho
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