Relaxation Music Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Your Questions

How does relaxation music help me relieve stress?
"Music influences respiratory rate, blood pressure, stomach contractions, and the level of stress hormones in the blood," according to David Sobel, M.D. Director of Preventive Medicine at Kaiser Permenente, the world's Largest HMO. "Slow, quiet non-vocal music generally lowers bodily reactions to stress while faster music heightens alertness and arousal."
Is there any medical research on relaxation music?
Yes. "When music is played before, during or after surgery, it has been found to reduce anxiety, lessen pain, reduce the need for pre and post-operative medication and speed recovery. In one study, when music was piped into an operating room throughout surgery, the amount of sedative required by patients was cut in half." - From Healthy Pleasures by Dr. Robert Ornstein and David Sobel, M.D.
What's the difference between relaxation music and relaxation techniques?
In our online store, relaxation music refers to CDs and downloadable discs with slow, quiet, non-vocal music usually played at around 60 beats per second. Relaxation techniques are spoken exercises that guide the listener through standard methods for reducing stress including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. These relaxation techniques are usually found on CDs which include relaxation music and environmental sounds in the background.
How do relaxation techniques work?
We have more control over what goes on in our bodies than we realize. And by learning relaxation techniques we can learn how to directly take control of our breathing rate and indirectly take control of our heart rate, muscle tension and blood pressure. Relaxation techniques are usually a set of instructions, given verbally on a CD or DVD that help you figure out how to take control of these functions yourself with the goal of achieving a deep state of relaxation as a result of your efforts.
Why do relaxation techniques help people reduce stress?
Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is where stress begins and ends. That's because one half of this system (the sympathetic nervous system) is designed to get you going and the other half (the parasympathetic nervous system) is designed to slow you down. Your sympathetic nervous system is what initiates the stress response. When you feel goose bumps, a pounding heart or a dry mouth, that's your sympathetic nervous system going into full gear. But when you feel relaxed and tired at the end of the day, or after exercising vigorously that's the parasympathetic nervous system doing its job. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause the body to feel relaxed.
Is there any medical research on the use of relaxation techniques?
"For 30 years meditation research has told us that it works beautifully as an antidote to stress," says author Dr. Daniel Goleman. Studies at Harvard Medical School, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin have all shown that meditation and other relaxation methods like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation all work to lower heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure of those in the studies. As Harvard researcher Dr. Herbert Benson explains: "all I've done is put a biological explanation on techniques that people have been using for thousands of years."
What is the history of relaxation techniques?
One of the earliest pioneers in the field of stress research was Dr. Edmund Jacobsen. Jacobsen first started studying the effects of stress (and more importantly the effects of stressful thinking) on the body at Harvard in 1908. He is credited with the development of biofeedback and the first relaxation technique, which he called progressive muscle relaxation. He published a book entitled "You Must Relax" in 1934.
What's the difference between the 6 relaxation CDs?
All the relaxation CDs are indeed similar in that they each have a narrator who guides you through a variety of different relaxation techniques that are laid over a bed of soothing music. For the differences between the relaxation CDs check the list of essentials at the bottom of each description. The main differences that you'll find are the type of relaxation exercises on each CD, the person narrating the CD (especially whether it is a male or female voice) the kind of music used, whether the relaxation CD includes environmental sounds and how long the CD is. People who plan on using their relaxation CD on a regular basis often purchase more than one relaxation CD so they don't get bored of listening to the same set of instructions, music and so forth, over and over. We suggest you listen to a sample to help you decide.