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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2016, Article ID 5965894, 8 pages
Research Article

Stress Recovery Effects of High- and Low-Frequency Amplified Music on Heart Rate Variability

1Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Tokai University, Kanagawa, Japan
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan
3Department of Rehabilitation, Teikyo University Chiba Medical Center, Chiba, Japan
4Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
5Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Sendai, Japan

Received 10 March 2016; Revised 18 June 2016; Accepted 23 June 2016

Academic Editor: Enzo Emanuele

Copyright © 2016 Yoshie Nakajima et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sounds can induce autonomic responses in listeners. However, the modulatory effect of specific frequency components of music is not fully understood. Here, we examined the role of the frequency component of music on autonomic responses. Specifically, we presented music that had been amplified in the high- or low-frequency domains. Twelve healthy women listened to white noise, a stress-inducing noise, and then one of three versions of a piece of music: original, low-, or high-frequency amplified. To measure autonomic response, we calculated the high-frequency normalized unit (HFnu), low-frequency normalized unit, and the LF/HF ratio from the heart rate using electrocardiography. We defined the stress recovery ratio as the value obtained after participants listened to music following scratching noise, normalized by the value obtained after participants listened to white noise after the stress noise, in terms of the HFnu, low-frequency normalized unit, LF/HF ratio, and heart rate. Results indicated that high-frequency amplified music had the highest HFnu of the three versions. The stress recovery ratio of HFnu under the high-frequency amplified stimulus was significantly larger than that under the low-frequency stimulus. Our results suggest that the high-frequency component of music plays a greater role in stress relief than low-frequency components.