Music Therapy May Help with a Variety of Health Problems
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based usage of music interventions with the aim to achieve individualized patient goals through a therapeutic relationship with a professional who has passed an approved program for music therapy. This official health profession uses music to addresses the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social needs of the individual.
The concept of the healing properties of music that can influence our health and behavior is as old as Aristotle and Plato, even though formally, music therapy as a profession started after WW1 and WW2 in the time when various community musicians went to hospitals throughout the country to play for the veterans who were struggling with war trauma.
How Does Music Therapy Work?
A lot of us listen to music on a daily basis and we have different experiences with it, i.e. we enjoy it and it motivates us, it moves us in unimaginable ways, it improves our overall quality of life, and some even claim that it has the power to better and maintain an optimal health. This being said, music therapy is considered to be a healing mechanism based on a skillful use of music which is practiced to restore and enhance one’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being. This type of therapy is highly recommendable for people suffering from chronic pain, mood disorders, as well as autism.
As noted on The Alternative Daily, from the structural and emotional features of music, patients can benefit in numerous ways, that is, from improved communication and learning capacity to personal development, better interaction, and self-improvement. This is because when we listen to music, astonishing processes take place in the brain and in other structures in the body too. Interestingly, MRI scans can show which brain parts are active while we are listening to music.
Proven Advantages of Music Therapy
Minimizes symptoms of depression
Mental health and physical health are closely connected; therefore, being depressed is problematic for the overall health. Instead of reaching for invasive treatments like over-the-counter meds, you should go with more natural approaches like meditation, exercising, healthy diet, and of course, music therapy. Namely, a study showed that this therapy was a viable solution for work-age individuals diagnosed with depression. The participants experienced an improved mood, but also a significant decrease in heart and respiratory rate and blood pressure.
Encourages fetal development
Research points out expectant mommies who play music directed at the womb in late pregnancy have higher chance of giving birth to a child who is more responsive to music. Other known benefits in the child are better feeding rates, lower heart rate, deeper sleep, as well as enhanced cardiac and respiratory function.
Strengthens the heart
As previously pointed out, music is definitely a medicine for the mind and body, especially for the heart, as it is known to better the blood pressure and heart rate, according to a study. Furthermore, the slower heart rate and blood pressure minimizes negative stress and encourages healing of the heart.
Assists with pain management
Unfortunately, according to statistics from 2012, around 2.1 million U.S. citizens had problems with substance abuse associated with pain relief meds. With the addiction from pain meds on the rise, music therapy seems as a much safer and effective alternative to bring relief from ache than prescription meds. Music is good for pain management because it activates the reward center in the brain, which stimulates dopamine secretion. What’s more, as noted on Alternative Daily, singing, dancing, or drumming in addition to listening to music, elevates one’s threshold for pain.
Research points out that lullabies sang by parents to prematurely born babies put the baby into a more relaxed stress by lowering their heart rate, which in return resulted in a calmer, quiter, and more alert baby. Music therapy was also found to better the baby’s sleep and lowered the stress levels in parents too.
Boosts the immunity
Listening to music is scientifically-proven to elevate the production of immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells that improve the functioning of the immunity and destroy intruding viruses.
Different Types of Music Therapy
The Dalcroze method
This method can be used both to teach students and as a therapy. It is focused on structure, rhythm, and movement expression and it is considered to have a positive influence on physical awareness, which can be highly beneficial for people with motor difficulties.
This model is created on the basis of neuroscience and it is centered on the perception and production of music and its impact on the brain and behavior. Experts in this therapy explain that the engagement with music contributes to brain development, which is effective for training motor responses.
This method was designed with the purpose to aid children who experience developmental issues and music is used as an element to enhance the children’s capacity to learn.
This approach denotes that every individual can benefit from music and find meaning in it, according to News Medical, and it also includes creation of music together with the therapist.
Who Can Benefit from Music Therapy?
- Children- music therapy is highly recommendable for children because it can help them advance in academic sucess, maintain a peaceful mind, behave positively, increase productivity, and create a friendly learning environment
- Teenagers- as therapy conducted with the help of music can create positive brain responses like higher creativity, the impulses common in teenagers can be kept under control
- Patients with heart problems and high blood pressure- music sessions can improve the blood pressure in hypertensive patients with cardiac issues
- Patients with nervous disorders- music can bring calmness by stimulating the nerves’ sensory impulses
- Patients with physical handicap- music therapy is known to ease muscle tension and bring relief from pain as well as easier movements
Final Thoughts on Music Therapy
Our body and mind naturally respond to music and this is why we are so drawn to it. Hence, if you are struggling with some health problem like anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, you can always try music therapy with a certified music therapist or simply play your favorite song and dance to it. Concentrate on the power of music to heal your being inside out.