Music can enhance fertility while reducing stress

September 22, 2013

Blood pressure, Pregnancy, Stress, Trauma, Women

Using the power of music and sound as a stress modifier has undeniable benefits for health and well-being.

Using the power of music and sound as a stress modifier has undeniable benefits for health and well-being.

by Sean Grace — 

Month after month of disappointment can turn into years of despair as women face the uncertainty that comes with prolonged infertility. What begins as a time of planning and the anticipation of starting a family can sometimes shift from an optimistic outlook to one of incredible stress. How women and couples cope with this period of frustration and anxiety can have a major impact on how successful their fertility journey ultimately becomes.

Recent scientific research has established a link between stress and fertility and has shown that infertility itself can cause stress. Studies suggest that stress can impede pregnancy by suppressing vital hormones such as progesterone and by overproducing others such as cortisol, ACTH and prolactin. This hormonal imbalance interferes with normal reproduction — and finding ways to regain balance and relieve this stress should be a priority for all couples seeking successful conception.

Following World War II, veterans’ hospitals across the country overflowed with GIs suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. One of the most successful programs used to treat these patients was music therapy. Based on that experience, healthcare providers from a wide variety of disciplines began using music as an effective treatment option, often in conjunction with other more conventional therapies.

Using music as a therapy began in the U.S. in the late 18th century and, as a healing tool, dates back to ancient times. But the specific application of music therapy to infertility is just now beginning.

Scientific research has recently revealed how music and sound work magic on the human brain and body. The neurological chain of events triggered by certain music and sound combinations demonstrates how stress is alleviated and how relaxation is induced. This research has opened up new possibilities for women and couples coping with the stressful experience of infertility, offering a new tool to help achieve successful pregnancy.

Clinicians from the music therapy program at the University Hospital of Cleveland have found that, “Music is clinically recognized to influence biological responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, cardiac output and muscle tone.” The staff also notes that music can affect the immune system and hormone production and can cause the body to calm or accelerate, depending on the type of music used. Sedative music was found to reduce anxiety, pain, tension and stress levels.

Based on the overwhelming evidence that stress does play a role in a woman’s ability to conceive, discoveries by the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine confirmed what patients themselves had suspected all along. In an article titled “Stress and Fertility,” authors John Wilson, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Kopitzke, Ph.D., note that a “Reproductive Filtering Model suggests that we have involved physiologic mechanisms to optimize reproductive success by suppressing fertility during periods of high social stress.”

It also became apparent to the department that the total experience of infertility is affecting stress response parameters at endocrine and cardiovascular levels. In essence, studies now clearly indicate the specific ways stress can cause infertility and how the infertility experience itself can cause stress.

Using the power of music and sound as a stress modifier has undeniable benefits for health and well-being. Music is a therapeutic modality that can be used by the individual in the privacy of her or his own home. For women and couples seeking successful pregnancies, music and sound therapy can be an effective, pleasant and low-cost supplement to their overall fertility enhancement program.

 

Sean Grace is president of Pharmonics™, a scientific research-based company dedicated to producing music and sound therapy programs for health and well-being. www.pharmonics.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 4, August/September 2005.

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