‘Brain music’ can lull your anxieties, sharpen reflexes

April 25th, 2009 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 25 (IANS) Every brain has a sound track, which when recorded and played back to an emergency responder, such as a fire fighter, may sharpen their reflexes during a crisis, and calm their nerves afterward.
The concept of ‘brain music’ is to use the frequency, amplitude and duration of musical sounds to move the brain from an anxious state to a more relaxed one.

Over the past decade, the influence of music on cognitive development, learning, and emotional well-being has emerged as a hot field of scientific study.

Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) has begun a study into a form of neuro-training called ‘brain music’ that uses music created in advance from listeners’ own brain waves to help them deal with common ailments like insomnia, fatigue, and headaches stemming from stressful environments.

“Strain comes with an emergency response job, so we are interested in finding ways to help these workers remain at the top of their game when working and get quality rest when they go off a shift,” said S&T programme manager Robert Burns.

“Our goal is to find new ways to help first responders perform at the highest level possible, without increasing tasks, training, or stress levels.”

If the brain “composes” the music, the first job of scientists is to take down the notes.

Each recording is converted into two unique musical compositions designed to trigger the body’s natural responses.

The compositions are clinically shown to promote one of two mental states in each individual: relaxation - for reduced stress and improved sleep; and alertness - for improved concentration and decision-making.

Each two to six minute track is a composition performed on a single instrument, usually a piano. The relaxation track may sound like a “melodic, subdued Chopin sonata”, while the alertness track may have “more of a Mozart sound”, says Burns.

After their brain waves are set to music, each person is given a specific listening schedule, personalised to their work environment and needs. If used properly, the music can boost productivity and energy levels, or trigger a body’s natural responses to stress.

The music created by Human Bionics LLC is being tested as part of the S&T Readiness Optimization Programme (ROP), a wellness programme that combines nutrition education and Neuro-training to evaluate a cross population of first responders, including federal agents, police, and fire fighters.

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