Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on study participants while they listened to a series of five-minute soundscapes of natural and manmade environments. Sounds from nature were associated with a decrease in the body’s sympathetic response (which causes that “fight-or-flight” feeling) and an increase in the body’s parasympathetic response (which supports the “rest-digest” state). (from the site Health.com 4/5/17)
The conclusions of this research do not surprise me given how relaxed I feel when listening to water lapping up along a rocky lakeshore or beach.
The use of brain scans and heart-rate monitors provides a scientific explanation which suggests a physiological cause for why exposure to nature sounds have such a calming effect.