Study shows relaxed breathing, music reduces anxiety

Published: March 20, 2015

A research study at Sparrow showed “significant” drops in symptoms of anxiety and depression after Patients practiced relaxing breathing while listening to calming music, according to Connie Gamage, MT-BC, a Mental Health Activity Therapist at Sparrow.

Gamage designed and delivered the seven-minute breathing and music intervention. She and psychiatric resident Alycia Ernst, M.D., a medical student at Michigan State University at the time, conducted the 12-week study, 30-Patient study in the fall of 2013 on the Adult Psychiatric Unit at Sparrow.

The study was designed to determine the effectiveness of mindful breathing and music on levels of depression and anxiety and to identify a possible correlation between Patient Perceived Self-Efficacy, the belief that one’s actions are responsible for positive outcomes, and success of the intervention.

Patients were asked to rank their anxiety and depression on a 10-point scale prior to and immediately after the intervention. On average, anxiety levels dropped 1.72 points and depression levels dropped 1.12 points after the intervention. Higher self-efficacy scores predicted additional reductions in symptoms.

Dr. Ernst presented the research at the American Psychiatric Association conference last year. Gamage uses the intervention regularly with Patients.