Health

 

Study: Music Is Good For Your Heart

CNN.com | Val Willingham | 11/06/09

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If you didn't catch the white coat and the stethoscope, you might take Dr. Mike Miller for a middle-aged rocker, roaming the halls of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
Playing or listening to music can create a feeling of well being, which affects the vascular system.

For years, Miller, a research cardiologist, has been studying the effects of happiness -- or things that make people happy -- on our hearts. He began his research with laughter, and found watching funny movies and laughing at them could actually open up blood vessels, allowing blood to circulate more freely.

Miller thought, if laughter can do that, why not music? So, he tested the effects of music on the cardiovascular system. "Turns out music may be one of the best de-stressors -- either by playing or even listening to music," said Miller.

The setup was basically the same as with the laughter study: Using high-tech imaging, Miller measured blood vessel size as people listened to music.

The results did not surprise Miller. "The inner lining of the blood vessel relaxed, opened up and produced chemicals that are protective to the heart," he said.

But when participants listened to music they didn't particularly enjoy, Miller said, "the vessels actually began to close up."

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