top of page

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

I remember growing up listening to the sounds of Anita Baker, Marvin Gaye, and The Manhattans without a care in the world. Life seemed so much easier than it did when I became a more mature adult with the daily duties of being a single Mom, working a full-time job, and living just to pay bills. On this journey of life, most people have adapted to a routine such as working five days a week, driving in traffic for hours, and heating a TV dinner up because of the daily stress.

In my recent study to find ways to reduce stress levels in the body, I learned that music played a major role in decreasing your cortisol levels, lowering blood pressure, and increasing a positive mood! In an article written by Vinita Mehta Ph. D., Ed.M.

Modern society is teeming with stress. Given the extensive demands on both our personal and professional lives, this probably comes as no surprise. What might be surprising, however, is the discovery that ongoing stress over expanded periods of time can lead to certain irregularities in the stress response system. This, in turn, can give rise to a range of conditions including high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and depression. Thus, it is essential for people to be able to cope with stress on a daily basis.

Enter music therapy, which has been gaining increasing popularity as an effective way to combat stress. Using music to improve health has been well-documented. But how does listening to music actually relax us? This question was the focus of a recent study led by Kenichi Itao of Juntendo University in Japan. In order to pursue this inquiry, Itao and his collaborators built on previous research and devised an experimental procedure in which participants arrived at the laboratory, took a seat, completed a short test. From there, they listened to five minutes of silence, followed by three minutes of music, followed by five more minutes of silence.

The participants listened to three pieces of music:

1. Classical music (“Pachelbel’s Canon” by Orchestre de chambre Jean- François Paillard)

2. Healing music (“Harukanaru Kage” by Yumi Nanatsutani, which is a cover of "(They Long to Be) Close to You” by The Carpenters)

3. Japanese pop music (J-Pop) (“Exile Pride — Konna Sekai Wo Ai Suru tame” by Exile)

All the while, participants were attached to both a heart rate sensor as well as a blood flow sensor, and they had their body surface temperature measured during the protocol to assess their stress levels before, during, and after they listened to each type of music. The researchers honed in on the activity of these three physiological processes since they can reveal information about tension, stimulation, and stress levels.

The investigators recruited 12 women ranging in age from their 20s through their 40s and grouped them by age (20s, 30s, and 40s). The experiments were conducted three times (once for classical, healing, and J-Pop music) for each of the participants.

What did the researchers find?

Heart Rate Variability

To assess heart rate variability, participants had a heart rate sensor attached to their chests that measured the ratio of low-frequency to high-frequency heart rate (LF/HF). When the ratio is smaller, it indicates lower autonomic nervous system activity, and thus lower stress levels. The investigators found that, overall, participants’ LF/HF decreased significantly while listening to the music compared to before and after the music was playing. In other words, they were more relaxed when the music played. In particular, participants’ LF/HF ratio fell significantly when listening to classical and healing music when compared to the measurements after the music finished. These results demonstrate that when listening to music, and especially the classical and healing pieces, the sympathetic nervous system is suppressed while the parasympathetic nervous system is heightened, indicating relaxation.

Blood Flow Volume

The investigators measured blood flow volume by attaching a sensor to the participants’ fingertips and recording the levels before and during listening to music. The scientists discovered that listeners' blood flow volume tended to rise when listening to classical music, demonstrating a relaxing effect. This was in contrast to J-Pop and healing music, for which no effect was found.

Body Surface Temperature

The investigators compared the difference in body surface temperature before the music played and while listening to the music. On average, participants’ body surface temperature rose after listening to both classical and healing music, signaling greater relaxation. Of note, the increase in body surface temperature after listening to healing music was particularly pronounced.

Taken together, these results demonstrate that listening to music soothes the body, mind, and soul.  As the poet and author Berthold Auerbach once stated, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 

I would encourage you to put some old-school music on or a little classical music and dance in your living room and make the best of your days on this planet!

Written by Shikoma M.

57 views0 comments

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

As a man, it is important to understand that you hold on to some of the negative energies from your past, such as unhealthy thought patterns, negative emotions, and previous failures. Learn to give your mind, body, and soul the care it needs and desires. Remember to set a standard for yourself, and choose the quality of life you want to attract.

Self-love is about setting boundaries for your life, and being able to give yourself the best self-care a man needs. This means changing your mindset and living life practicing to only act on what is important and not what matters for the moment. It is imperative to forgive yourself for any pain, hurt or trauma that you may have experienced or caused, and learn to fall deeply in love with the person you've become or becoming.

This means you can enjoy sitting and eating alone, until the right person shows up and has the pleasure of sitting across from you, taking spiritual baths, cleansing, and keeping yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually in good health. Learn to attract the energy you want in your life. Trust the universe and believe in being the best man you can be!

Written by Shikoma M.

19 views0 comments

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

To celebrate black history means to know the culture behind it all...

Growing up as an African American I learned to be very cultured, nurturing and driven. I developed a passion for art, history, and reading which help me to learn about the leaders behind it all.

With a passion for art, I discovered that blacks not only have a gift of talent but a purpose behind it. The black artist shared portrayals of their struggles through their paintings and artwork.

Jacob Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, NJ. "The MIGRATION SERIES" was a painting that not only strikes brightness of color but showed the strength and courage behind African Americans who relocated from the south to the north for better educational opportunities. This was during World War I and World War II.

Faith Ringgold was born in Harlem, NY. This woman had a voice behind every painting! One of my favorites was "The American People Series #20: Die (1967)" which was about racism. In 1964, the tension between blacks and whites grew hectic and many blacks suffered long enough and wanted justice.

This painting was directly addressing to the riots. Faith stated "One of the most difficult things I ever painted in my life." It was because of the blood, she recalled. Blood meant to hurt and death and in order to express the realness of the pain, people suffered it had to be added to the painting.

Many of these artists not only expressed the pain that blacks endured in their paintings, but the courage it took and the perseverance of many African Americans who never stop striving for freedom, education, and peace.

Written by Shikoma M.

14 views0 comments
bottom of page