Music therapy helps lower histamine

Music notes on white background

Scientists find that music therapy not only affects histamine, but also other immune system and stress markers. It’s also now proven that music may be better than prescription medications for some conditions. 

A study looking into the benefits of Receptive Music Therapy found that “feel good music” suppressed histamine secretion by the salivary glands (but not blood histamine) in both allergic and non-allergic volunteers.

A large scale review of over 400 scientific papers on the neurochemistry of music  turned up that music was better at prescription meds at reducing pre-operative stress. People who listened to music increased their levels of IgA, which is an antibody in the digestive tract, lungs and other mucosal areas in the body, which helps fight infections. Music listeners also had higher levels of natural killer cells that attack bacteria, infections and cancer. Listening to music also helped reduce the obesity promoting stress hormone cortisol.

You may not know this yet, but according to the mast cell doctors I’ve spoken with, for some people stress is the number one mast cell  trigger. Histamine lives in mast cells. When these cells become unstable thanks to stress, foods, allergens etc, they release histamine and other inflammation into the body. So most things that stabilise mast cells, like stress reduction, can lead to a decrease in histamine production and an overall fall in inflammation.


One particular study found that music in what’s called “major” mode is more effective than “minor” mode music at stimulating a sense of wellbeing and happiness, and more importantly, lowering cortisol levels.

An example of major mode music is Mozart in C major. If you type that into iTunes, Spotify or Youtube and you’ll turn up a bunch of stuff and then can work through the related searches. Major notes are also found in jazz compositions, including one of my favourite songs “Ain’t Misbehaving” and a selection of Glenn Miller big band tunes. (Please forgive my limited understanding of music – it’s a subject I’m now planning on thoroughly educating myself on). There’s loads of pop music that’ll also work I’m sure. I guess you are the best indicator of whether a piece of music is working for you, rather than what a study tells you.

The right tune has the ability to send me into a trance of happiness and wellbeing. Lots of classical pieces, specifically waltzes like the Blue Danube and from Swan Lake and others. I’ve been obsessed with the drums for as long as I can remember,  especially big band, jazz, native America n, Middle Eastern and even heavy metal. One of the questions raised for further study is if playing the instrument offers additional or different benefits. Reading all these studies inspired me to sign up for drumming lessons to find out for myself.

Here’s a few of my favourites feel good musical selections in major.

You’ll find recipes full of foods with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties my books Anti-Recipes and The Anti-Cookbook


REFERENCES Suda, M., Morimoto, K., Obata, A., Koizumi, H., & Maki, A. (2008). Emotional responses to music: Towards scientific perspectives on music therapy. NeuroReport, 19(1), 75-78. doi:10.1097/wnr.0b013e3282f3476f   Kejr, A., C. Gigante, V. Hames, C. Krieg, J. Mages, N. König, J. Kalus, K. Schudmann, and F. Diel. “Receptive Music Therapy and Salivary Histamine Secretion.” Inflammation Research 59.S2 (2009): 217-18. Web   Weiss, Jonathan. “Scientific Literature Shows Music Can Boost Immune System And Reduce Pain.” Medical Daily. N.p., 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.    
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