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Curated by RSF Research Staff

Music for the Heart

A recent publication indicates Yoga-Music at bedtime enhances the hearts variability in beat to beat distances. The heart is not only pumping, but pulsing with fractal fluctuations. The more flexible it is, the healthier you are. The pace will increase while breathing in and slow down during exhalation. The breath is giving a feedback to the nervous centers in the most archaic parts of the brainstem, the elongated spinal cord in the neck. It is responsible for the basic functions controlled by the unconscious nervous system. The variability of the heart can be entrained by coherent breathing techniques to a coherent beat-to-beat wave function or even a circular Poincaré-Plot. This state is called cardiac coherence and entrains the brain in its quite long refraction time of the pacemaker cells inside the “Gate to Consciousness” (Thalamus), which is why breathing techniques are used as a basic tool in different traditions of meditation. At the alpha-theta border of the brainwaves, lucid stated have been reported.

However, Heart-Rate-Variability (HRV) has multiple layers of specific fractal wave patterns that may give us answers on the activity of our “fight-or-flight” or the “rest-and-digest” part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). A recent Position Paper of the European Society for Cardiology (ESC) has concluded, mathematical advances including analyzing fractality and entropy has not yet entered the clinical studies in this field, and calls for more research into this promising technique. It is important to know, the arrangement of the heartbeats have a huge feedback impact on our brain and psyche. The more you entrain your heart to a coherent breath and feelings of joy, love and gratitude, the more your brain will let go of anxieties and sorrows.

Fig.1. Upper graph: coherent heartbeats during breathing exercise; Lower graph: narrow variability in patient with cardiac disease, right part is where we talk about him still smoking (own Data)

Anyway, we know sound is defined as a quantum field. It has been inconclusive, if music would have an influence on the Heart-Rate-Variability, but Dr. Naresh Sen recognized it was not documented which music was used in previous studies. He conducted a study to differentiate between Pop-Music, Silence and Yoga-Music before bedtime in 149 healthy individuals and presented the results at the ESC Congress 2018. The results indicate an advantage of Yoga-Music over Silence. Pop-Music was rather arousing for the autonomic nervous system. Sleep hygiene is very important on the long run, because the secretion of melatonin during sleep is responsible for healing and repair mechanisms. Even the old Greek based their medical treatment on “incubation”, healing sleep in a dormitory as a prescription. Since Pythagoras (around 600 BC) they also discussed and used healing sounds and harmonic frequencies.

Science may have not always agreed, but Indians have long believed in the power of various therapies other than medicines as a mode of treatment for ailments. This is a small study, and more research is needed on the cardiovascular effects of music interventions offered by a trained music therapist. But listening to soothing music before bedtime is a cheap and easy to implement therapy that cannot cause harm.

- Dr. Naresh Sen

Author: Dr. Johanna Deinert (MD), RSF Research Scientist

Article: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-yoga-music-bedtime-good-heart.html

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