Effects of music on mood
There is neurochemical evidence suggesting that music has beneficial effects on cortisol (i.e., stress homone). Particularly, it has been found that music not only reduces cortisol levels, but it also helps lower its release during a stressful situation.
In addition, music increases levels of endogenous opioids (i.e., naturally occurring opioids) and dopamine, which as a whole results in anxiolytic (i.e., reduce anxiety) actions on the individual.
Auditory beat stimulation effects on anxiety
Auditory beat stimulation (ABS) is a technique using sound waves to produce combination tones played in one or both ears either as binaural beats (different in each ear) or as monaural beats (simultaneously) and at various frequencies. Research indicates that ABS is also a therapeutic tool in anxiety, particularly lowering anxiety levels; however not all studies support its effectiveness in that domain.
Thus the current paper seeks to investigate whether combining these two elements; music and ABS, could significantly lower anxiety or not. Testing their hypothesis, they enrolled participants currently taking anxiolytics and randomly exposed them to one of four conditions including listening to music alone, ABS alone, ABS and music combined, or pink noise (e.g., rain falling, leaves rustling in trees, waves crashing, etc…).
Combining ABS with music help decrease negative moods
Results indicate that music alone and music combined with ABS produced a greater reduction in somatic anxiety (i.e., physiological effects of anxiety such increased heart beat, sweating, etc…) among participants with moderate anxiety. Furthermore, in this group combining ABS and music was associated with a higher increase in positive affect and a higher decrease in negative moods.
Interestingly, the music-alone condition yielded a significantly* (*it is a statistical term that refers to the unlikelihood that the results are due to chance) higher reduction in both somatic (body) and cognitive (psychological) anxiety among participants with high anxiety than ABS alone.
Mallik A, Russo FA (2022) The effects of music & auditory beat stimulation on anxiety: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE 17(3): e0259312. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0259312