The Sound of Better Breathing: Benefits of Music

Woman Jogging in ParkDo you ever feel better after hearing some of your favorite songs? That effect may be more profound than you think.

Music has been linked to a number of health benefits, both physical and mental. And some of those benefits can directly improve your breathing if you’re suffering from COPD or another condition.

A USA Today collection of research from a variety of sources detailed all the benefits of listening to music. Many of them pertain to the home, where you can relax with music on, home oxygen concentrator by your side. Here are a few that stand out:

  • Improves Quality of Sleep
  • Reduces Stress
  • Reduces Anxiety
  • Eases Pain
  • Improves Exercise Endurance

Improves Sleep Quality

One study found that listening to classical music led to a decrease in sleeping problems. This study’s subjects were 19 to 28, an age group not often known to have breathing problems. But a high percentage of COPD patients report sleeping problems of some kind, and it stands to reason that a certain percentage of those COPD patients who desire a better sleep could benefit from listening to classical music at night.

While it won’t have the same clinical guarantees as sleeping pills, the beauty of music-as-sleep-aide is that it is a low-risk option with a calming effect (see below), and comes with no side effects or price tag.

Reduces Stress

Stress, like sleep, is an important factor when it comes to breathing in COPD patients. Increased stress means increased chance of flare-ups and breathing difficulty, something that no one wants. So if listening to music can reduce stress levels, as studies suggest, then it is by all means a worthy pursuit.

Listening to music in order to reduce stress is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. An in-depth report on stress found that listening to soothing music tends to decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. In short, music triggers biochemical stress reducers to kick in.

With music on, the stress can stay manageable. When stress is in control, your breathing rate can stay at a comfortable level. Who wouldn’t want that?

Reduces Anxiety

The subtle difference between stress and anxiety is: stress comes from a place of frustration, while anxiety comes from a place of unknown and fear.

As with stress, though, music has been shown to have positive effects in quelling anxiety. That’s because music can have a massage-like effect in its ability to relax the body and mind.

Generally speaking, COPD patients have known their fair share of anxiety with the diagnosis of the condition and the subsequent obstacles of treatment. A small but effective measure in subduing that anxiety could be simply putting on a relaxing tune and closing your eyes.

Eases Pain

Beyond the mental strain of stress and anxiety, music even has shown benefits for dealing with physical pain.

Music has been found to reduce the perceived intensity of pain. Nothing will change within your body, but your experience of the pain could potentially improve.

If you deal with chronic muscle or joint pain, music could serve as a nice supplement to pain relievers while resting.

Improves Exercise

Inogen’s portable oxygen concentrators make it easy to maintain an exercise routine, and that’s a good thing, because the importance of exercise for patients with COPD cannot be understated. What if you could exercise better? You guessed it: music has been shown to increase workout endurance.

Throwing on some headphones and an iPod won’t transform you into a world-class athlete. But if you could get a little more out of your body, would you take that opportunity?

Listening to music does not figure to drastically change one’s life in any particular way. But the studies have shown that it can help in a variety of ways, many of which are strongly linked to the quality of breathing in COPD patients.  Improving your breathing comes down to one big decision on medical oxygen and a lot of little decisions concerning your lifestyle. As it turns out, pushing play could do a lot more for you than you thought.

All that’s left to do is take the advice from the Doobie Brothers and listen to the music:

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