Stress therapy music

Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music | Counseling Services

Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. Faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management.

Research confirms these personal experiences with music. Current findings indicate that music around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves (frequencies from 8 - 14 hertz or cycles per second). This alpha brainwave is what is present when we are relaxed and conscious. To induce sleep (a delta brainwave of 5 hertz), a person may need to devote at least 45 minutes, in a relaxed position, listening to calming music. Researchers at Stanford University have said that "listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. " They noted that music is something that almost anybody can access and makes it an easy stress reduction tool.

So what type of music reduces stress the best? A bit surprising is that Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud. Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature sounds may also be relaxing particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical (the "largo" movement), and easy listening music. Since with music we are rarely told the beats per minute, how do you choose the relaxation music that is best for you? The answer partly rests with you: You must first like the music being played, and then it must relax you. You could start by simply exploring the music on this web page. Some may relax you, some may not. Forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that irritates you can create tension, not reduce it. If that happens, try looking for alternatives on the internet or consult with Counseling Service staff for other musical suggestions. It is important to remember that quieting your mind does not mean you will automatically feel sleepy. It means your brain and body are relaxed, and with your new calm self, you can then function at your best in many activities.

The links below each open relaxing musical selections in YouTube.

A Moment of Peace Meditation
Aneal & Bradfield, "Heaven and Earth Spirits" track from Life & Love). Lovely contemporary piano music with accompanying instruments and nature scenes.

Echoes of Time
C. Carlos Nakai from the Canyon Trilogy. Serene Native American flute music, with a picture of Nakai backlit by the sun at the Grand Canyon.

The Winding Path
Ken Kern from The Winding Path. Highly rated, beautiful piano music with accompanying instruments with pictures of exquisite flowers and plants.

Classical Indian Music for Healing and Relaxing
Gayatri Govindarajan, "Pure Deep Meditation" track. Lovely and rhythmic music played on the veena, the most ancient of the Indian plucked-instruments, with nature scenes.

Angels of Venice
Angels of Venice from Music for Harp, Flute and Cello. Classical with 3 instruments with nature pictures.

Earth Drum
"Spirit Vision," (David & Steve Gordon. Serene and lovely contemporary Native American informed-drumming music utilizing Taos Log Drum and Incan Pan along with other instruments and ocean/forest nature scenes.

Buddha Spirit
Aneal & Bradfield from Light & Love. Reflective but strong contemporary music utilizing various instruments and occasional humming voices with colorful oscillating fractals

Spa Relaxing Music
Tranquil contemporary instrumental with piano and a fixed candle light.

Relaxation Music: 1-Hour Meditation Candle
Serene contemporary instrumental with piano and one flickering candle.

Sleep Deeply
Dan Gibson. Nature sounds and instrumental, tranquil sleep music.

Marconi Union. The sounds on this video are carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines that help slow a listener's heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower levels of the cortisol stress hormone.

The role of music in stress management

Lisa Tams, Michigan State University Extension -

Music can be a useful tool in relieving stress.

Photo: Unsplash/Jackson Simmer.

Music can be used as a therapeutic tool to not only reduce stress, but to also promote healing and improve one’s overall emotional well-being. Recent research demonstrates that the use of music in addition to standard therapeutic tools provides additional restorative benefits for people with depression and anxiety, compared to those who received just therapy without the use of music. Different uses may include listening to music, playing a musical instrument, singing along to music and using guided imagery with music.

Music can make us feel good. There is solid evidence that music stimulates the production of dopamine, the “feel good” hormone in our bodies. Through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a 2011 study demonstrated that dopamine increased in the brain when listeners experienced positive emotions in the same areas of the brain where pleasure is experienced when food and other sorts of cravings are satisfied. These findings may shed light on why music has played such a significant role shaping culture and is a source of pleasure for human beings throughout our history. Music is an integral part of life’s milestones and just about every significant life event across cultures, including weddings, birthday celebrations, funerals and religious activities.

In addition to helping human beings experience positive emotions, listening to music has also been associated with improving our physical health and well-being. There is good reason to believe that even more benefits are gained from music therapy when it is used not as a random activity, but as an intentional strategy to improve health and well-being. One study demonstrated that listening to music while taking a break reduced the prevalence of stress among front-line nurses, a profession that has long been marked by high rates of stress and occupational burn-out. In this study, participants were divided into two groups. One group listened to soothing music of their choice for 30 minutes while the other group rested quietly sitting in a chair for the same length of time. When outcomes were compared for the two groups, nurses who listened to music had lower perceived stress levels, lower levels of cortisol in their bloodstream and lower heart rates when compared to the group that rested in the chair.

Music can be an extremely useful tool for a wide range of audiences for stress relief since it is free or low-cost and readily available through a vast array of digital outlets. Any activity we engage in can be mindful and music provides the ultimate outlet to get lost or immerse oneself in something other than the thoughts in one’s head. Anyone can put a playlist together on their devices with music that aids in stress reduction; here is a sample of some relaxing songs:

  1. “In My Time” by Yanni
  2. Pachelbel’s Canon in D
  3. “Sailing” by Christopher Cross
  4. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin
  5. “Easy” by the Commodores
  6. “Hasta Mi Final” by Il Divo
  7. “The Best of Michael Franks” by Michael Franks
  8. “Wake Up” by Marvin Gaye
  9. “When you say Nothing at All” by Allison Krause
  10. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

Music is a powerful tool that can switch off the stress response and in turn improve our emotional health. Whether one listens to, plays or sings doesn’t matter. All of it has proven benefits.

For more information on MSU Extension's mindfulness programs, please visit the Mindfulness for Better Living website.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

Did you find this article useful?

Music as a therapy for stress: what to listen to for health

March 20, 2017, 19:04

Relieve stress, energize, strengthen immunity - all this is under the power of music!

Photo: Burda-media

Art therapy is one of the best stress relievers: no cost and no side effects. Help yourself to improve your well-being and charge yourself with a positive mood before the holidays ... And after them too!

Photo: Burda-media

Scientists have found out not only that good music has a beneficial effect on mood and well-being - but also what kind of works you need to listen to in different situations or with various ailments.
If you have a headache, you can listen to Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" as a "pills". And Beethoven's works miraculously stimulate intellectual activity, support inspiration - and therefore they will help both to survive during the next emergency at work and avoid stress - a faithful companion of those who are forced to do something in a state of time pressure. Bach's music gives a sense of peace, so put it on after work - minor problems, fuss and worries will disappear without a trace.
Properly selected music can normalize the rhythm of breathing and relieve muscle tension. To make the right choice, listen to your body: your feelings at the first sounds will help you understand whether you need this piece right now, and help you make the right choice.

Photo: Burda-media

● Rhythmic, incendiary melody will not leave a trace of boredom. And if you not only listen to it, but also dance to it, the effect will increase several times!
● You probably have favorite songs that are associated with something pleasant - for example, they help to imagine the sea, summer, vacation. Or remember the wonderful moments from ancient times associated with them. Make yourself a few playlists to your liking - "calm, dreamy", "energetic, strong", "cheerful and funny" - and turn it on when you need a charge of certain emotions.

Photo: Burda-media

● Sincere singing with a guitar is a great way to get rid of the feeling of loneliness. And songs with high-quality lyrics not only carry the energy charge of the performer, but also stimulate the brain.
● Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Music therapists will prescribe you to sing loudly when you shower or bathe. It does not matter if you think that you have no hearing and no voice. The main thing is to choose a song that suits your mood and perform it with feeling.
● The singing of birds, the sounds of the surf, the rustle of leaves... The music of nature also has healing properties. When you need to relax, turn on the disk, close your eyes and mentally transport yourself to the mountains, forest or seashore.

Editor's tip. In music therapy, as in other types of treatment, the "dosage" and the right attitude are important. It is unlikely that you will feel peace while listening to peppy Latin American rhythms from morning to evening - or classics, busying yourself in the kitchen. But a special atmosphere - for example, the one that reigns at a symphony concert - will help "take the right dose of medicine" in the right way.

Animal therapy: how tailed doctors help us
Color therapy: a palette of good mood

Related articles

Editorial opinion may not coincide with the opinion of the author of the article.

Relax Music for Stress and Sleep. Soothing Melodies

Relax music. Practice mindfulness (self-observation) with soothing music against stress.

It's no secret that certain music has a calming effect, helps you relax and fall asleep. Some listen to music to relieve stress or during meditation practice. The effect of relaxing music on the brain can be as strong as that of drugs. But unlike drugs, relaxation music is free, affordable and does not give side effects. In 2011, neuroscientists went on an interesting experiment. Shared with Group Marconi Union According to the canons of sound therapy, music for relaxation was created for the first time. This is composition Weightless (Weightlessness) . On this page you can listen to this and other best relaxation melodies for free and get acquainted with the modern rating of the most soothing music.

Relax music and the brain

Relax music and the brain. Alpha state and soothing music.

Music is the most powerful form of art in terms of emotional influence. Tone, pitch, duration and volume of sounds, rhythm and musical harmonies have a profound effect not only on our emotions, feelings and moods, but also on our body. Music therapy is a commonly available natural therapy important for stress relief.

See also: How to fall asleep with insomnia and psychological stress.

Calm music with rhythm approx. 60 beats per minute causes synchronization and slowing down of bioelectric brain rhythms to the level of 8-13 Hz. This frequency of brain rhythms is called the Alpha state (α state). A-state naturally occurs when we are calm, relaxed, serene, peaceful, and experiencing mindfulness (dispassionate self-observation, meditation). For example, when we are in a shaded room with our eyes closed, our muscles are relaxed, pain and stress reactions subside.

Listening to soothing music for some time can deepen the state of relaxation and cause drowsiness, ie. transition of brain rhythms to the Theta state (θ-rhythm, 4-8 Hz). Theta state allows access to the unconscious, creative ideas and insights.

Deepening of the theta state leads to further slowing of brain rhythms and deep sleep phase (Delta state, δ state, 1-4 Hz). In this phase, growth hormone is released, which contributes to the restoration of systems and organs.

Relax music for sleep

Indian, Native American and Celtic folk music, as well as Gregorian chants are very effective for relaxation - relaxing the mind and body. The calming effect is enhanced when these melodies are mixed with the sounds of nature: water, rain, thunder, birdsong, rustling leaves.

An important factor, without which you will not be able to relax - you should personally like the music, and not annoy. Don't force yourself to listen to relaxing music if you're uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there is a wide choice of music for relaxation.

Weightless by Marconi Union

An 8-minute 'weightless' song without lyrics Weightless was released by Marconi Union in October 2011. For this super relaxing and soothing music, the Marconi band worked with Liz Cooper from the British Academy of Sound Therapy. The project was sponsored by the brand of relaxing bath products Radox Spa . The creators of the tune Weightless were included in the list of inventors of Time magazine and in the hit parade Billboard . In 2016, the group released a 30-minute version of the song, which is convenient to use for complete relaxation or sleep. A 10-hour version was also released later. All of these versions are available for free on YouTube.

Weightless has piano and guitar overdubbed with chimes and ambient sounds. All this is harmoniously arranged with basses in order to soothe and immerse listeners in a state close to a trance. The rhythm of the composition reproduces the heartbeat.

Listen to Weightless online for free and relax!

The most soothing music

The Sussex Innovation Center in Brighton and marketing company Mindlab International conducted a study on the effect of music on stress reduction. The condition of the study participants was monitored by devices while different musical compositions were played. Composition Weightless significantly outperformed 'competitors' (other soothing melodies). During its sounding, the anxiety of the subjects decreased by 65%! This weightless melody was 11% more effective than others. While listening to this music, the participants lowered their blood pressure, slowed their pulse (heart rate), and slowed their breathing.

The rating of relaxation music by the researchers turned out to be as follows (we provide videos of those compositions that the editors of the project especially like Mentor ): DJ Shah0048 .

2. Electra , performers group Airstream.

1. Weightless , band Marconi Union . Video above.

Interestingly, the top ten soothing melodies include both classical and contemporary music. There is also Mozart and Coldplay .

Singer Enya is the queen of relaxation music.

From ourselves, we, the editors of the site Mentor, can recommend other compositions of the singer Enya for relaxation. May It Be and Aniron (movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings ), Caribbean Blue, Only Time, Echoes in Rain, The Hummings, Athair Ar Neamh, Amarantine, China Roses and others. And the music, and the voice, and the appearance, and the mystery of Enya seem unearthly. Her compositions seem to take the listener to other worlds. This is a very useful property when you want to renounce reality, relax and calm down.

Singer Enya is a standard of talent, good taste, elegance and restraint. In this, she differs significantly from many of her colleagues.

Learn more