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Music Enhances the Effect of Positive Emotional States on Salivary IgA

Rollin McCraty, Mike Atkinson, Glen Rein, and Alan D. Watkins

Stress Medicine, Vol. 12: 167-175, 1996.

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Summary

This study examines the effects of music and positive emotional states on autonomic and immune function in normal, healthy individuals. Autonomic activity was assessed using power spectral density analysis of heart rate variability, and salivary IgA was used as a marker of immunity. The effects of Rock, New Age, and Designer Music were examined alone, and in conjunction with a self-induced positive emotional state. The results indicate that only the Designer Music and the self-induced state of appreciation produced a significant increase in autonomic activity and salivary IgA (S-IgA). In addition, the combination of the Designer Music and the self-induced appreciation produced a much greater immunoenhancement than either of these two conditions alone. We conclude that music can be designed to enhance the beneficial effects of positive emotional states on immunity, and that this effect may be mediated by the autonomic nervous system. These data raise the tantalizing possibility that music and emotional self-management may have significant health benefits in a variety of clinical situations in which there is immunosuppression and autonomic imbalance.