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Music Soothes the Savage Beat

In a small study published by the journal Heart (September 2005), scientists at the University of Pavia in Italy played music to 24 healthy people in their 20s, half of whom were accomplished musicians. Researchers monitored their heart rates, breathing, blood pressure, and other vital signs (including during a 20-minute rest period).

The study's play list:

  • Raga (Indian classical music): "Sitar Music Meditations" by Debabrata Chaudhuri
  • Slow classical music: an adagio from Beethoven's 9th symphony
  • Fast classical music: a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi
  • Techno music: "You Spin Me Round" by Gigi D'Agostino
  • Rap music: "The Power of Equality" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Dodecaphonic (12-tone) music: a slow, modern orchestral piece by the late composer Anton Webern

The results:

  • Fast tempos increased heartbeats, breathing, and blood pressure.
  • Slower tempos were relaxing.
  • The style of music didn't affect the results; only tempo mattered.
  • Musicians showed more heart sensitivity to music, likely because of their musical training.
  • During pauses between music types, heart rates, breathing, and blood pressure improved beyond that measured before the participants listened to any music.

The researchers concluded that any type of music fast or slow may have beneficial effects on the heart. The same researchers, in past studies, have also shown that music cuts stress, upgrades athletic performance, and improves movement in nerve-damaged patients.

Feeding the Bottom Line

Progressive employers are beginning to realize that offering healthy perks such as organic produce at the office can be good for the bottom as well as the bottom line. Organic produce delivery businesses are broadening their target marketplace to include these enlightened employers.

With studies to back them up, many companies are instituting wellness programs to encourage their staff to become more active, drink more water, and maintain healthy diets. They're offering fresh, healthy organic foods in their cafeterias and meeting rooms. At alive, employees are provided daily with a glass of fruit and vegetable juice mid-morning and an organic salad at lunch.

According to studies from Harvard Medical School, poor nutrition alone correlates to an 8-percent reduction in productivity, and people with bad diets are absent from work 15 percent more than those with good diets. Providing the opportunity for employees to sustain a healthy diet while at work has the benefit of keeping employees fit and happy while, at the same time, nurturing a healthy bottom line.

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