Best playlist to lower blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol

How do you feel when you listen to music? If you get stuck listening to something you don’t like, you may notice boredom, irritation, anger or any number of unpleasant emotions.

But maybe your favorite tunes calm and relax you… maybe even change your mood from down in the dumps to happy and uplifted.

The point is — music has a powerful effect on your mind and body.

Some call it the Mozart effect — a name which can be traced back to over 20 years of scientific studies that show that listening to Mozart can boost your brain power and improve your health.

In fact studies have demonstrated music’s healing effect on everything from colds to cerebral palsy. And the latest scientific study demonstrates the healing power of music once again, suggesting that if you could harness that power, you could you use it to accomplish some pretty amazing things.

And researchers at Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) studied the effect of music on the blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels of 120 people to prove it…

After taking baseline measurements of these health markers, they divided the group of study participants in half, with one half listening to 25 minutes of music and the other half sitting in silence. The music listeners were then subdivided into three groups: one group listened to Mozart, one group listened to Johann Strauss Jr. and one group listened to the 70s pop band ABBA.

I’ll start with the bad news first (for ABBA fans anyway). Listening to ABBA isn’t the best musical score for perfect health. In fact, 25 minutes of grooving to ABBA tunes had no measurable impact on participants’ blood pressure or heart rate. It did however lower their cortisol levels though, so the news isn’t all bad.

But I have even better news for classical music-lovers…

It turns out that listening to both Strauss and Mozart lowered blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels… which means a daily dose of classical music could be the key to good cardiovascular health.

So if you haven’t already, add a musical score that can help you score big health points to your daily playlist… perhaps a Mozart symphony and a few waltzes by Strauss too.

If you’re someone who suffers from high blood pressure, this could be a safe and practically effortless  addition to whatever you’re doing now to keep it in check. And who couldn’t benefit from lower cortisol levels? This stress-triggered hormone plays a major role in inflammation, after all, and we could all benefit from keeping that well under control.

  1. Campbell, Don. The Mozart effect: tapping into the power of music to heal the body strengthen the mind and unlock the creative spirit. New York: Avon Books, 1997.
  2. J. Trappe, G. Voit. “The cardiovascular effect of musical genres—a randomized controlled study on the effect of compositions by W. A. Mozart, J. Strauss, and ABBA.” Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and