Mind, Body & Jazz:How Jazz Can Improve Your Health

Listening to jazz music has potential benefits for your health as varied as the genre itself. The innovative riffs, cool tones and complex rhythms can bring natural relief for mind & body.


Listening to Jazz can actually have an effect on the type of brain waves you produce – which can be stimulating or relaxing.

Focus and Energy
Listening to upbeat music can:

  • Help you focus and raise your heart rate.
  • Provide motivation and reduce fatigue during a workout.
  • Target beats per minute (BPM) should match your heart rate during workout:
    • Walking -115 to 118 BPM
    • Power walking – 137 to 139 BPM
    • Running – 147 to 160 BPM
    • Boost your productivity at work

THETA brain waves (4-8 hertz): Listening to the distinctive syncopation of some jazz can bring about theta brain waves, the most highly creative brain wave. They inspire new insights and solutions to unresolved problems ("Eureka!" moments).

Music Examples for Focus and Energy

Stress Relief

Listening to relaxing music is just as effective at reducing anxiety as a massage.
ALPHA brain waves (8 to 14 hertz): Listening to music around 60 BPM's can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat, resulting in alpha brainwaves. They make you relaxed but conscious.
DELTA brain waves (under 4 hertz): Listening to calming music in a relaxed position for at least 45 minutes produces delta brainwaves which can induce sleep… better sleep.
Better Sleep: Studies shows that just 45 min of soft, slow music (60-80 BPM) like jazz, before bedtime results in better and longer night-time sleep as well as less dysfunction during the day:

  • After 1 week, 26% were sleeping better.
  • After 3 weeks, 35% were sleeping better.

Less Depression: After listening to jazz music for an hour every day for a week:
Music Listeners had 25% less depression than non-listeners.

Music Examples for Relaxation


Since stress is the root of many health problems, the relaxing effect of jazz music can have incredible healing influence. It physically changes your body by lowering your heart and respiratory rate.

Stroke Recovery
Listening to music (jazz included) directly after a stroke improves verbal memory, focus and mood. In just 3 months after a stroke:

  • Music Listeners' verbal memory increased 60% and focused attention increased 17%.
  • Non-Listeners' verbal memory increased 29% and focused attention increased 0%.
  • Audio Book Listeners' verbal memory increased 18% and focused attention increased 0%.

Pain Relief
Listening to jazz has been shown to reduce time and intensity of both general and migraine headaches.
Study shows that listening to music (including jazz) can reduce chronic pain. After listening to jazz music for an hour every day for a week:

  • Music Listeners had a 21% decrease in pain.
  • Non-Listeners had a 2% increase in pain.

Music therapy is increasingly used for pain relief in hospitals to:

  • reduce need for medication during childbirth
  • decrease postoperative pain
  • complement use of anesthesia during surgery

Blood Pressure
Studies show that music (including jazz) and laughter can lower blood pressure by causing blood vessels to expand by up to 30%.
After 3 months of the music & laughter study:

  • music group decreased blood pressure by 6 mmHg
  • laughter group decreased blood pressure by 5 mmHg
  • control group had no change

Immediately after each session also revealed a short-term dip of 6 mmHg to 7 mmHg.
The range of decline is comparable with someone:

  • adopting a low-salt diet
  • losing 10 pounds
  • taking blood-pressure-lowering medication.

This change reduces risk of death from heart disease or stroke by up to 15%.

Listening to jazz for 30 minutes boosts immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. IgA resides in mucous linings of the body and acts as an antibody; preventing virus, bacteria and infection. The effect on IgA levels continues for an additional 30 minutes after the music stops playing.

Fun Fact

A study conducted by Dorothy Retallack in 1973 played music to plants for two weeks. Plants "listening" to classical and jazz music physically leaned 15 to 20 degrees toward the radio while plants "listening" to rock music grew away from the radio, became sick, and died.

International Jazz Day: April 30th
"International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact" #JAZZDAY

So beat that cold to the punch and crank up some Coltrane.


1. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kimkomando/2009-07-16-exercise-music_N.htm
2. http://brainbasedbiz.blogspot.com/2007/01/jazz-stirs-creative-flow.html
3. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2010/03/19/music-soothes-anxiety-as-well-as-massage-does
4. http://www.unr.edu/counseling/virtual-relaxation-room/releasing-stress-through-the-power-of-music
5. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4228707.stm
6. http://www.news-medical.net/news/2008/02/20/35390.aspx
7. http://www.rmhp.org/blog/2013/04/jazz-and-poetry-month-rmhp/
8. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060524123803.htm
9. http://spearman101.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/5-medical-reasons-jazz-music-is-good-for-you/
10. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/25/laughter.music.lower.blood.pressure/
11. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/cold-and-flu/7-unusual-cold-remedies?slide=2
12. http://www.smilinggardener.com/plants/music-and-plants

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