Research at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
The research project 'the Musical Score of the Body' or BodyScore, started about ten years ago and its goal is to find ways to stimulate health with music. To date the group has conducted studies to map the reactions to music in the heart and the Autonomous Nervous System. They have been searching for ways to use music as a tool to handle stress. They found a method to guide the breathing with specially designed music which has a soothing effect on the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and the whole Autonomic Nervous System.
Musical Piloerection, Vickhoff, Åström et al. Music and Medicine April 2012 vol. 4 no. 2 82-89
There are several documented studies of Blood pressure reductions in hypertensive patients who received similar HRV training (Elliot et al., 2004; Reineke, 2008). Other studies show the link between higher HRV and better immune defense, increased concentration etc, whereas patients with PTSD, COPD, generally show lower HRV.
HRV (Heart Rate Variability) is also an indicator of psychological resiliency and behavioral flexibility, reflecting the individual's capacity to adapt effectively to changing social or environmental demands (Beauchaine, 2001; Berntson et al., 2008). More recently, several studies have shown an association between higher levels of resting HRV and performance on cognitive performance tasks requiring the use of executive functions (Thayer et al., 2009) and that HRV, especially HRV-coherence, can be increased in order to produce improvements in cognitive function as well as a wide range of clinical outcomes, including reduced health care costs (Lehrer et al., 2003, 2008; McCraty et al., 2003; Bedell and Kaszkin-Bettag, 2010; Alabdulgader, 2012). (A healthy heart is not a Metronome, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01040)
We are preparing a study to see if this app can help patients with 'Broken Heart Syndrome' at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Ongoing studies evaluate the use of MusicforMoods in a work setting at Volvo. A cooperation with the University in Maastricht and Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve has started, further evaluating the app.
See Ted Talk by Rickard Åström
Modesti PA et al. Psychological predictors of the antihypertensive effects of music-guided slow breathing, 2009, Journal of Hypertension:May 2010 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p 1097–1103.