Background: Prevous data have shown that music experience is the key to develop future therapies in order to prevent the development of cardiovascular disorders.
Objectives: The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of heart rate variability (HRV) on exposure to Indian raga with slow music with that of two control groups of pop music and no music or silence in a sample of healthy subjects.
Materials and methods: Autonomic functioning, anxiety level, and subjective feeling were assessed in 149 healthy subjects, both male and female [group mean age ± standard deviation (SD), 25.68±5.74] during three sessions. The three sessions were the musical session intervention with the Indian raga with slow music yoga asana before sleep at night, pop music with steady beats, and “no music session”. Assessments were made before (5 min), during (10 min), and after (5 min) in each of the three states on 3 separate days.
Results: During the Indian raga, there was a significant decrease in the low frequency (LF) power (P<0.01) and increase in the high frequency (HF) power (P<0.002) in the frequency domain analysis of the HRV spectrum. There was also a significant decrease in the mean heart rate (HR) (P<0.03) in the time domain analysis of HRV. Both frequency and time domain measures are indicative of parasympathetic activity. The anxiety level significantly (P<0.004) decreased post the Indian raga session and significantly (P<0.04) increased post the pop session. The subjective assessment of perceived feeling using the visual analog scale (VAS) comparing Indian raga with pop and silence sessions showed a significant difference of feeling positive (P<0.005).
Conclusions: Exposure to the Indian raga with slow music yoga asana reduced sympathetic activity and/or increased vagal modulation with reduced anxiety levels and subjective assessment of perceived feeling showed positive changes.