The Many Moods of Jazz : The Positive Emotions and Health Benefits Inspired by Jazz Music

by: Michelle Inherst

     Listening to jazz music has been known to inspire and evoke a wide variety of moods. People who avidly listen to jazz say this genre of music leaves them with feelings of romance, passion, excitement and reflection. Others say jazz is relaxing and even evokes feelings of nostalgia; mentally carrying them off to a time and place they remember or an era in which they wish they could have lived.

      Research has shown that listening to jazz music does have a significant effect on mood and energy levels. With its cool tones and sultry, complex rhythms, jazz has been known to bring about a natural and drug free relief to the mind and body. Jazz music evokes feelings of happiness and hopefulness. Some jazz fans are left with sense of ‘reminiscent, yet optimistic; longing, yet fulfilled mood’.

     The upbeat stylings of jazz music have had huge ‘positive effects on the type of brainwaves’ listeners produce. Research has proven that these waves, known as THETA brainwaves, (falling in the range of 4-8 Hertz) are the most creative. When THETA brainwaves are produced, they are proven crucial in offering new insights and solutions. When stress levels are decreased and language patterns are increased, the brain is more susceptible to using the imagination. The boost in creativity to complete logical thinking is what causes us to think outside the box. Listening to jazz music is just as effective at reducing anxiety as getting a massage.

    Music played at around 60 beats per minute, stimulates ALPHA brainwaves. These brainwaves fall in the 8-14 Hertz category and cause the brain to synchronize with the beat of the music. This brain activity promotes relaxation yet, at the same time, leaves the listener conscious. DELTA brainwaves (>4 Hertz), are stimulated when a person listens to calming, relaxing music (like jazz) for at least 45 minutes before bedtime. This results in a better, longer night’s sleep. Research also showed that people experienced less chaos throughout the day and showed improvements in their mood as well.

     The effects of listening to jazz music are beneficial for physical well being as well as promoting positive effects on mood. The stimulating, upbeat melodies of jazz are a great way to aid with focus, increasing heart rate, and getting motivated. The relaxing effects of jazz help to reduce fatigue and have are greatly beneficial in relieving stress. Since many health issues are directly associated with stress, many hospitals and other health care facilities incorporate the use of jazz music to aid in treatment therapies.

     For example, some physical, speech and occupational therapists use jazz music with stroke patients during therapy. This musical genre helps the patients to focus, helps to improve the patients’ mood, and improves verbal memory. Patients who listened to jazz music within the first 3 months of therapy immediately following the stroke showed; 60% increase in verbal memory and 17%increase in focus.  Jazz music can help reduce blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels up to 30%; thereby showing a 15% reduction in the risk of death from stroke and other cardiovascular related diseases. Jazz music and laughter together have sometimes been the equivalent of losing 10 pounds or eating a low sodium diet. It is also comparable to taking medications to help reduce blood pressure. It also has been known to help lower heart and respiratory rates and produce a healing effect in the human body. The human body also showed an increase in immunity when a person listened to jazz music for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. This boost in immunity continued for an additional 30 minutes after the music had ended.

     Jazz is believed to be an effective pain reliever. It can help reduce the time and intensity of migraine headaches. Chronic pain experienced can be reduced up to 21% when listening to jazz music one hour each day for one week. More hospitals are incorporating the use of jazz music for pain relief as well. Doctors found that playing jazz music after childbirth reduces the amount of pain medications needed. Surgical teams and hospital staff also saw a decrease in post operative pain. When jazz music was being played during surgery, it aided is the effects of the anesthesia being used.

Jazz music offers tones that are stimulating, yet relaxing at the same time. According to research, listening to jazz music can help improve memory. Participants in research studies have proven better at retaining information while listening to jazz over those who did not. This was due, in part, to the soft sounds of jazz music aiding in the focus of the research subjects.

In addition to the emotional, mental and physical benefits, jazz music is fun to listen to.

Gutierrez, Steve. Why You Should Enjoy Jazz Music. Steppin In It, Fan Club. 16 June 2017.

Defflin, Kendall. Why Jazz is the Most Stimulating Genre of Music, According to Science.  Live For Live Music. 12 June 2016.

Mind, Body, & Jazz: How Jazz Can Improve Your Health. Top Masters in Healthcare Administration. Copyright 2018.