Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Music to Soothe and Relax?

I know you say that music is relaxing and can lower stress, but I need specifics. What music do you listen to in order to relax and what pieces do you recommend?

Answer (Published 10/31/2011)

Music can have a powerful effect on mind and body far beyond its ability to promote relaxation and stress relief. Hospitals use music therapy to ease pain, boost patients' mood and counteract depression, help them sleep and reduce muscle tension so that they can relax. In nursing homes, music therapy is used to stimulate the elderly residents, improve the moods of psychiatric patients and help them gain more control over their lives. Some research suggests that music therapy can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease and that some types of music can influence the production of dopamine and serotonin, the neurochemicals that are imbalanced in Parkinson's.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy can help lower blood pressure, improve cardiac output, improve respiration, reduce heart rate and relax muscle tension. And a recent review of studies on the subject found that music can reduce pain and anxiety in cancer patients and improve their quality of life and mood. 

Our bodies react instinctively to different rhythms. When you listen to slow, relaxing music, your heart naturally beats more slowly, breathing deepens and brainwaves slow down. These physiological reactions are all components of the relaxation response.

I'm happy to tell you what music I listen to in order to relax, but bear in mind that my musical preferences and yours may not be the same. The important thing is to listen to whatever kind of music relaxes you and helps neutralize stress and anxiety. That said, to wind down I like to listen to some my favorite classical pieces including Handel's "Largo (from Xerxes)" and "Water Music," Christian Pezold's "Minuet in G Major" from the Anna Magdalena Notebook (and commonly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach), Pachelbel's "Canon" and Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo's "Fantasia para un Gentilhombre," a concerto for guitar and orchestra.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here