Music is soothing to body, mind and soul. Those of us who enjoy a certain type of music know that is so.

There have also been extensive experiments showing that obnoxious music, such as heavy metal and hard rock, is damaging to living tissues.

Now there is a new piece in the jigsaw. It seems that operatic music is healing and nurturing to an organism under stress and likely to experience inflammation.

Classical music is good.

Mice with transplanted hearts listening to soothing classical music lived TWICE AS LONG as those that were deaf or listening to pop music.

Time to change the content of your iPod, I think!

Masateru Uchiyama of Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, gave mice heart transplants from an unrelated donor which were therefore expected to be rejected. For a week following the operation, the mice continuously listened to Verdi’s opera La Traviata, a selection of Mozart concertos, music by Enya, or a range of single monotones.

Mice exposed to opera fared best – they survived an average of 26 days, with those who listened to Mozart close behind at 20 days. Mice who listened to Enya survived for 11 days and the monotone group only seven days.

I’m sad about the Enya; I have always thought her music soothing. However, it can be gloomy, as in the Watermark album.

Interestingly, mice that were deaf but were subjected to La Traviata did badly, as did mice exposed to pop music. So it really was a listening effect, not just vibrations.

Blood samples from the mice exposed to classical music appeared to slow organ rejection by calming the immune system. The mice had lower concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and higher levels of substances that dampen inflammation (Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, in press).

Remember, as you ponder this, that slowing of the immune system is good against inflammation but would be a poor result when, say, fighting cancer or an infection.

However, I think the body is intelligent enough to know the difference and we can safely say the sweet music heals body and mind!