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Gender-based comparison of salivary stress marker among healthy individuals after intervention with three melodic scales of Indian music – Exploration with a pretest-posttest design

Kirthana Ubrangala Kunikullaya, Vijayadas Muradi, Radhika Kunnavil, Jaisri Goturu, Vadagenahalli S Prakash, Nandagudi Srinivasa Murthy.


Background: Music is used as entertainment, but it has potential health benefits. Evidence regarding Indian music in controlling stress is meager. Hindustani music (a type of Indian music) has its system of musical scales (ragas).

Aims and Objectives: The objective was to evaluate change in stress using salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) after passive listening to Hindustani ragas and its variation with gender.

Materials and Methods: Healthy individuals were randomly divided into three groups that received music intervention (ahir bhairav, kaunsi kanada, and bhimpalas ragas/scales). Stress was assessed with salivary alpha-amylase including pre, during, post-intervention (each for 10 min) among both the genders were compared. SPSS 20.0 was used to analyze the data.

Results: All three ragas reduced sAA level (not significant). However, a significant difference in sAA level during and post music (P = 0.016) was observed.

Conclusions: Passive listening to any of the three Indian scales reduced stress, like the western melodic scales. Music medicine (passive listening to music) thus has therapeutic implications as an alternative therapy for stressed/anxious individuals in medical disorders.
Gender-specific effects with each melodic scale were noted.

Key words: Music; Stress; Salivary Alpha-Amylase

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