Music is often most affecting when a performance is so natural, and a composition so well-crafted, that a listener is able to let go and relax into a state of pure experience. But what is it that allows music to bestow this state upon a listener?
'Stress can really take a toll on our health and well-being, especially when experienced for long periods of time,' says Joanne D'Amico, RN, RMT and guided-relaxation voice artist. 'It is extremely important to interrupt those long periods of stress with some deep relaxation.' Find out more about guided relaxation and D'Amico's work in the field, and listen to a sample guided relaxation session.
Scientists have found that music can reduce sympathetic nervous system activity; decrease anxiety, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate; and possibly have positive effects on sleep in regards to muscle relaxation and distraction from vexing thoughts.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is an instructor-led method of recognizing muscle tension and increasing body awareness. By providing relaxation and soothing tired muscles, PMR can be part of one's overall fitness plan. Hear more about PMR from fitness expert Nathan Bahr, and listen to some PMR sessions.
Some classical compositions really seem to speak of the beauty of farms, fields, nature, and animals. In some of these cases, the composer was specifically attempting to draw the listener's attention to these details, and in others the pastoral theme is more subtle.