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Posted on: August 20, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Music is an analgesic for the mind. Sound therapy has been used for ages to help treat stress, anxiety and improve a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing. While anxiety is a normal emotion to experience in stressful situations, causing increased alertness, fear, and usually a rapid heart rate [1], when it becomes excessive, consuming, and begins to interfere with your normal life, it can become a problem. If this is the case one usually needs to seek help from a medical or health professional.

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For serious cases, sometimes medications are administered at the beginning of treatment. However, for more mild to moderate cases, the course of action would usually focus on certain lifestyle changes. Depending on the lifestyle change this would apply to more serious cases as well, in addition to any medication being prescribed. 

The stress response is primarily regulated by three hormones in the blood: Adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine [2]. Adrenaline and norepinephrine increase your heart rate and elevate your blood pressure.

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Cortisol enhances your brain’s use of glucose and alters immune system responses. Chronic stress puts your health at great risk, but there are simple ways to manage it effectively. One of those ways is sound, more specifically music. 

Weightless

Music is magic itself. A pair of great headphones and the right sound can give you just the measure of relaxation and peace you need. When you’re feeling restless, on-edge, tense, shaky, nauseous, dizzy, faint and/or painfully exhausted, turn to music. It’s one of the best medicines you could feed your aching soul at any moment.

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Weightless is an ambient song written in 2014 by the British musical trio, the Marconi Union. These musicians worked with sound therapists to develop a medically-approved song that provides “carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines designed to help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” according to Inc.com [3]

I’ve listened to the abridged version of the track, and the sound was truly surreal [4]. The original song is 10-hours long but the abridged version is an 8-minute track. The song isn’t just amazing notes and a melodious rhythm in plain audio. The official video is a constant scene of flying lights reflecting over a tranquil stream. A very peaceful, relaxing sight. 

The true sound of peace – according to science

According to a 2011 study conducted by neuroscientists from the UK, this song reduces anxiety levels by up to 65 percent. The study was conducted by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International and is not accessible online.

Participants of the study were reportedly given a complicated puzzle to solve, which increased their stress and anxiety levels to a certain extent. Their heart rates, blood pressures, and hormone levels were detected by sensors.

As they attempted to solve their puzzles, different songs were played in the background while changes in their statistics were constantly monitored.

Weightless was discovered to have the highest success rating, reducing anxiety by 65 percent and the usual physiological resting rates by 35 percent. In an interview, Dr. Hodgson said that the song is so effective that women have complained of drowsiness while listening to it. It calms the mind so much that sleep becomes imperative. They have been advised to not listen while driving. 

According to DJ Magazine, Weightless is “An ethereal sense of eternally free-flowing dimensions … worth the wait.” 

Below is the full list of the top ten songs Dr. Hodgson’s study recommends for stress and anxiety management. People are advised not to play these songs while driving or shortly before getting behind the wheels.

10. “We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

9. “Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart

8. “Someone Like You,” by Adele

7. “Pure Shores,” by All Saints

6. “Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona

5. “Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay

4. “Watermark,” by Enya

3. “Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah

2. “Electra,” by Airstream

1. “Weightless,” by Marconi Union

This study was commissioned by the bubble bath and shower gel firm Radox Spa, and conducted by Mindlab International’s team of scientists. While this study was not published in a peer reviewed scientific journal, it highlights something we all know.

Music can calm and help us heal emotionally and maybe even physically. These songs, of course, are not the only tunes that can help relax us. What are your favorite songs to relax to? Are they similar to these? 

  1. Kimberly Holland. Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety. Medical News Today. https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety. Retrieved 19-08-19
  2. Sarah Klein. Adrenaline, Cortisol, Norepinephrine: The Three Major Stress Hormones, Explained. Huff Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/adrenaline-cortisol-stress-hormones_n_3112800. Retrieved 19-08-19
  3. Melanie Curtin. Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent. Inc. https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/neuroscience-says-listening-to-this-one-song-reduces-anxiety-by-up-to-65-percent.html. Retrieved 19-08-19
  4. Melanie Curtin. Neuroscience says listening to this song reduces anxiety by up to 65 percent. https://www.fastcompany.com/90274251/song-reduces-anxiety-neuroscience
  5. Staff writer. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037. Retrieved 19-08-19
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