Indian men, specifically coronary patients, responded well to Raga Desi Todi (Hindustani classical music), in a study measuring psychophysiological reactions to music at the Banares Hindu University, Varanasi, India. The men listened to the slow-paced, taped raga played on the flute for 30 minutes a day for 20 days. Healthy controls did the same.
Music’s historic role in healing, cultural and religious rituals, spiritual traditions, yoga (kirtan is devotional chanting, often of mantras), nada yoga (includes Indian classical music), has led researchers and neuroscientists to explore ways in which music can improve health and a sense of well-being. The study concluded that
1. music significantly lowered both systolic and diastolic and heart blood pressure and heart rate in the coronary patients
2. music had no significant effect on these measures in the control group
3. both groups reported reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression; and an enhancement in life satisfaction, hope, optimism, and meaning in life
Source: “Psychophysiological reactions to music in male coronary patients and healthy controls”, Psychology of Music, June 2014 http://pom.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/06/05/0305735614536754.abstract
Several other studies have found that listening to music, playing music, increases positive emotions by stimulating parts of the brain that produce dopamine (makes us feel good). In fact, almost all brain centers light up. Levels of cortisol, associated with anxiety and stress, are lowered.