June 22, 2024


How music changes our blood chemistry and behaviour?

How music changes our blood chemistry and behaviour?

Sajid Mahmood Ansari

We know that human brain governs all the human actions. Now,
it is established that human behavior is controlled by certain neurotransmitters
that are called hormones. Certain hormones affect our mood including happiness,
aggression and sadness. Our mood depends on the concentrations of these
hormones in our blood stream.

Dopamine and serotonin are two important
neurotransmitters that act reciprocally, in natural circumstances. The balance
of these bio-chemicals in our body plays crucial role in maintaining our

Inside the brain, dopamine plays important
roles in 
executive functionsmotor controlmotivationarousalreinforcement, and reward, as well as
lower-level functions including 
lactationsexual gratification, and nausea.[1]

Once dopamine was considered pleasure hormone,
but now it is taken as reward or motivation hormone. If the outcome of an
action is in the form of gaining something, it is considered reward. Now this
gaining may be through positive means or negative means. When a person gains
wealth or appreciated by someone, he / she feels pleasure. Unfortunately,
greater the reward, greater the concentration of dopamine would be. As a result,
a person becomes addicted to this reward. Gambling addiction is one of the
worst examples of
reward-motivated behavior.

Kimberly Sena
, a PhD in psychology, quotes a study
“Music Listening Releases Dopamine”:


A study was conducted by
researchers at McGill University in Canada. An initial 217 participants were
narrowed down to eight, who consistently responded the same way when listening
to music, regardless of the listening environment.

For the study, the
researchers used a combination of PET (positron emission tomography) and fMRI
(functional magnetic resonance imagining) techniques to scan the brains of the
eight participants as they listened to music over the course of three sessions.
In addition, the participants completed a questionnaire in which they rated how
pleasurable they found the music.

This is where it gets a
little more technical. The PET scan showed the researchers that dopamine was
released in the striatum during peak moments of emotional arousal when
listening to music. The fMRI scan helped show a distinct difference in the
timing and structures involved—the caudate was active when anticipating the
peak emotional arousal, and the nucleus accumbens was more involved when actually
experiencing the peak emotion. [2]

The crux of this study shows that while
listening music, dopamine releases. This practice adds a lot of dopamine into
our blood stream making us music addicted. It is not the whole story, but it
concludes that release of so much dopamine causes emotional arousal, leading us
to having sexual desires all the time.

Another PhD scholar, a well-known American neuropsychologist,
Daniel Levitin observes about listening

There’s stronger evidence that it can affect mood and heart
rate and respiration rate. So, fast stimulating music stimulates the production
of adrenaline and other hormones that get your heart racing faster and your
pulse increases and blood pressure increases and then soothing, relaxing music
has the opposite effect. 

Serotonin is primarily found in the enteric nervous system located in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). However, it is also produced in the central nervous system (CNS), specifically in the Raphe nuclei located in the brainstemMerkel cells located in the skin
receptor cells
the tongue. 

Serotonin normally broadens the blood vessels, but when it is
produced in excessive amounts, in turn it narrows the blood vessels. The
repeated constriction of blood vessels leads to cardiovascular diseases,
including hypertension, angina and stroke. In case of extremely high
concentrations of serotonin may cause carcinoid tumors in small intestine.

Latest scientific research proves that secretion of serotonin
is also associated with auditory stimuli. The fluctuation of serotonin affects
the sexual behavior too. In most of the vertebrates, songs of male or female
arouse the opposite sex.  

It has been established
scientifically, that increase in serotonin levels arouses a person. That is
why, traditionally, professional courtesans have been singers and
dancers. Even
today, all the entertainment centers, which provide night partners, use music and
wine as a tool to instigate their customers.

Experiments on mice have
proved that serotonin plays important part in sexual relationship.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (US) published a
research work on its website with title:
it in Context: Linking Auditory Processing with Social Behavior Circuits in the
Vertebrate Brain.
The researchers observe:

During social interactions with
novel, opposite sex conspecifics, male and female mice have increased IC
serotonin relative to isolated controls.[4]

Similarly, exposure to broadband noise elicits a
rapid increase of serotonin in the IC of male mice that is sustained over the
course of the stimulus (
Hall etal. 2010). However, no
such increase is observed when mice are presented with food or light
stimuli  (
Hall etal. 2010), each of which
has been demonstrated to affect levels of Fos, an immediate early gene product
and putative marker for neural activation, (
Clayton 2000) within
serotonergic neurons in DRN . [5]

The researchers go further:

Rather, serotonin increases in
IC may accompany non-social contexts in which auditory processing is important,
such as noisy conditions or restricted environments in which acoustically
locating conspecifics may lead to escape.[6]

These scientific experiments prove that dopamine and
serotonin is badly affected by music leading to many health problems. That is
why the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him and
his progeny) wisely prohibited music for the Muslims.

Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari (May Allah be pleased
with him):

that he heard the Prophet ()
saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will
consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of
alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will
be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening
their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something,
but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them
during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform
the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of

Allah Almighty protect us from forbidden music and its bad effects. Amin

Daniel Levitin is a professional music therapist. He accepts
that there is little evidence to show that soft music really heals up. He says:

You know, I’m glad you mentioned the
evidence-based part because there’s been a lot of pseudoscience and just a lot
of anecdotes about music, but relatively little actual experiments – true
experiments in science. But the direction that it’s going is that in the last
five years, people are increasingly conducting controlled experiments with
proper controls and with proper methods. And we’re finding that early evidence,
you know there’s not a whole lot of work on which to base this, but early
evidence says that music can alter pain thresholds.

If it is proved scientifically, that music can
heal up certain ailments, still its drastic effects on neurotransmitters do not
allow listening music just for recreation and being addicted, making you maiden
by sexual desires. After all, liquor may have a few health benefits, but its
addiction ruins one’s health. Same is true for music. One of the causes of alarming
increase in heart diseases lies beneath the fact that music is everywhere. Even
we have brought it to the Masjids through our cell-phones. May Allah pardon us.


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