Countless studies have been conducted to prove the effects of music and arts on the health and wellbeing of people, from therapy, to education, to daily life.However, these studies have been conducted under laboratory or clinical settings and used recorded music. On the other hand, new research claims that watching live music during a cultural performance or concert can positively impact a person’s psychological and physiological health.
This works great for music lovers because you no longer need an excuse to see a live performance, or watch a particular band perform live. Simply call it “taking care of yourself”.
The Stress Hormones at Play
When a person experiences stress, physiological stress hormones are released. CRH from the hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland. Then, the pituitary gland secretes ACTH, which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce corticosteroid hormones.
That’s a bit of a mouthful, but in a nutshell, your body reacts to stressful stimuli, which causes stress hormones to be activated. When corticosteroids are released, cortisol levels increase to help the body cope with stress.
As cortisol levels increase, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels decrease, which suppresses a person’s immune system. This can be dangerous when the same stressors are experienced repeatedly such as in chronic stress.
Basically, in attempt to reduce your stress levels, your body will suppress your immune system to reduce how horrible the stress makes you feel. The issue with chronic stress is that your immune system becomes suppressed more often than not, which makes you more vulnerable to getting sick.
How Live Music Reduces Stress
Researchers Daisy Fancourt and Aaron Williamon from Imperial College London took 117 volunteers to two separate concerts by musical composer Eric Whitacre. To push for consistency, the researchers made sure that both concerts played the exact same music and ran for the same amount of time.
Using saliva collected through a straw, the researchers studied the participants’ steroid hormones. Cortisol, cortisone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), progesterone, and testosterone were measured immediately before and 60 minutes after the concert.
Both concerts revealed the same results – the glucocorticoid levels of participants decreased, reducing the cortisol/cortisone ratio, which indicates reduced biological stress levels. The study further reveals how live music or concert performances can lead to positive changes in DHEA levels.
Their study may have relatively been small, but the results reinforce the claims of previous studies. Because the study included volunteers with varying musical experiences, age, gender, the results suggest a universal response to live music performance among the audience. So you don’t need to be a connoisseur of the fine arts to get a health kick from live music, you just have to enjoy it.
Check Out a Live Musical Performance
Imagine yourself sitting in the audience of a beautiful venue such as The Theatre at Solaire, then a full orchestra starts playing soothing classical music. It absorbs your attention and your mind wanders away from your worries and fears. Your heart rate slows down, your blood pressure decreases, and you finally feel the positive energy flowing through your veins. Now, you can feel calm and peaceful.
Whether that’s a concert, a Broadway musical, an opera, or a live band performance, you should definitely try to make it a habit of watching live music to reduce cortisol levels. Not only will you feel more relaxed, but you’re also strengthening your immune system and reducing blood cholesterol.
Watching and listening to live musical performances will ultimately help you lead a healthier, more active life. So, what are you waiting for? Treat yourself by easing back to a live piano rendition at The Oasis Garden Cafe, or catching a riveting musical in The Theatre at Solaire. You deserve it!