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Symbiosis success in Medical Research

A study at Kingston University has shown that listening to Symbiosis can reduce the heartbeat rate, and therefore help people to relax. In tests, music from Touching the Clouds was found to be the most successful at reducing the pulse, tying in first place with a slow movement by Vivaldi.

Doctors at St. Bartholomew's hospital in London have used Symbiosis's music as part of a study to see if relaxation tapes can be used with - or even instead of - conventional medication to treat some stress-related problems.

In June '94, final-year undergraduate music student Ree Phillips of Kingston University completed a dissertation on 'An Exploration of the Relationship between Music and Relaxation.' She came up with some very interesting findings giving strength to the idea that music can have positive effects if used specifically for relaxation. Her questionnaire asked, "Do you think that music can be used as an aid to relaxation," and ninety percent of respondents replied "Yes." Another question, "If you were prescribed a piece of music by a doctor to listen to on a regular basis as an alternative to medication to aid relaxation, would you try it out?" was affirmed by 80% of the sample, showing that a surprising number of people now think that listing to music can be a form of complementary therapy in its own right.


Ree's research included a pilot study to measure people's heartbeat while they listened to various kinds of music. Her findings showed that music has a noticeable effect, and that music intended for relaxation does produce a positive result. The graph on the left indicates the average heartbeat rate for those taking part in the study, measured first before any music was played, and then during the last minute of each of 11 four minute extracts. (The shorter the line, the better the result.) It can clearly be seen that the heartbeat rate fell significantly during Albinoni's Adagio and the relaxation pieces at the end of the 45 minute listening session, and that two works tied in first place to produce the lowest heart-beat rate. The most relaxed response in the listeners was measured during a Symbiosis piece (the title track from Touching the Clouds) and a slow adagietto by Vivaldi.

Following Ree's work at Kingston University, music by Symbiosis was used in research at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London. A specialist group there was investigating the possibility that patients with stress-related stomach problems could be helped to reach a more relaxed state by listening to Touching the Clouds.


Professor Michael Farthing - one of the country's leading specialists in Irritable Bowel Syndrome - then adopted the Touching the Clouds album for his series of public lectures on IBS, and another Symbiosis release - Song of the Peach Tree Spring - was more recently featured on the BBC1 programme Watchdog Healthcheck, where the music was used successfully as part of a relaxation process! Of three different methods of reducing stress (again measured by heartbeat rate), the one using Symbiosis came out best in a test devised by Dr. Ann Fingret, who was in charge of Occupational Health at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Listen to Touching the Clouds (the title track used in the Kingston University test)

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Hear other tracks from Touching the Clouds: Nimbus; Lakeside; Der Wälder Nacht (Forested Night); Wrapped in Evening Mists

Read: Touching the Clouds - Full Information - Review of Touching the Clouds

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