Study Finds Reciting Poetry Calms the Heart
(Reuters Health) - Thursday,September 5,2002
Charnicia E. Huggins
rhythmic sounds of poetry may woo a lover’s heart, it might also be
healthy for the heart of the speaker, according to recent study
findings suggest that the stress-releasing effect of guided
recitation of old poetry can lead to a deep relaxation afterwards,”
Dietrich von Bonin of the University of Berne in Switzerland and
Dr. Henrik Betterman of the University of Witten/Herdecke in
Germany told Reuters Health in an e-mail interview.
effect could be beneficial not only in stress management but also
for breathing,” they added.
researchers investigated the effects of poetry on heart rate in a
study of seven individuals. After having their heart rates measured
for a 15-minute period, the study participants recited poetry for
30 minutes or spent the same amount of time engaged in
conversation. Then their heart rates were measured again,
also for 15 minutes. After reciting poetry, the study
participants’ heart rates slowed to match their breathing rates in
“harmonic interaction,” according to the authors. Further,
this effect persisted for up to 15 minutes after the recitation
exercises, the investigators report in the International Journal of
effects were observed when the individuals engaged in everyday
conversation, the researchers noted.
In light of
the findings, “We recommend to foster old skills like recitation of
rhythmic poetry, not only in therapy, but also in education, in
order to optimise early prevention of heart disease and other
stress related problems,” von Bonin and Betterman said.
findings may also help to explain the calming effect of chanting,
the researchers note, “since chanting of calming songs also
generates a slow and deeoer breathing.”
International Journal Of Cardiology 2002;84:77-88.