Most massage sessions feature the soothing sounds of music created for healing space. A new literature review shows that music lessens stress and anxiety in heart disease patients.

The researchers reviewed data from 23 studies, which together included 1,461 patients. Two studies focused on patients treated by trained music therapists, but most did not, using instead interventions where patients listened to pre-recorded music on CDs offered by healthcare professionals.

Listening to music provided some relief for coronary heart disease patients suffering from anxiety, by reducing heart rate and blood pressure. There was also some indication that music listening improved mood, although no improvement was seen for patients suffering from depression due to the disease.

The April issue of MASSAGE Magazine includes “Healing Rhythms: How Sound and Music Benefit the Body,” a roundtable discussion from music experts including Steven Halpern and Peter Kater.