When does stress cause illness? And can music help?
Stress management is one of the main research topics in the Health Sciences Department at the IMC University of Applied Sciences. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about “harmful stress”?
As Gerhard Tucek explains, “To stay healthy, we need to switch constantly between phases of activity and relaxation, also known as sympathicotonia and vagotonia.
But when we are ill we lose the ability to alternate easily between these two phases. In other words, the more seriously ill you are, the more rigid your biological rhythms become until they ultimately remain almost completely within the sympathicotonian phase.” However, the body’s natural repair processes take place in the vagotonian or relaxation phase.
Stress management research analyses and assesses patients’ stress behaviour, as well as factors such as sleep patterns. Music therapists are now attempting to help patients consciously switch between relaxation and activity phases. IMC Krems is collaborating closely with hospital operator Niederösterreichische
Landeskliniken-Holding on this project. One of the current areas of research is the issue of determining the ideal times for therapeutic interventions over the course of a day.
“To stay healthy, we need to move effectively between activity and relaxation phases – between energy-burning and rest phases.”