What Is Music Therapy And How Does It Help?
Music therapy is a type of art therapy that uses music as a therapeutic tool to improve and maintain the physical, psychological, and social well-being of a group of people or individuals. It involves various activities, ranging from listening to music to singing, playing an instrument to writing songs and much more. Sounds great, but what does music therapy help with and does it really work? Music has been used as a therapeutic tool for centuries and has shown to evoke happy memories and raise your spirits.
One really doesn’t need to have a strong connection to music. Even if you can’t sing or play an instrument, this therapy is great for a rehab session or to guide you into meditation. Music therapy can be highly personalized, making it appropriate for people of all ages, whether they are struggling with illnesses or totally healthy. In the past few decades, music therapy has played an increasing role in improving mental health and overall well-being of people.
What To Expect During A Music Therapy Session?
For someone who is new to this therapy might wonder what actually happens during these sessions. It’s difficult to answer this as there is no such thing as a “typical” music therapy session. As music therapists work in many different settings and with different kinds of patients, treatment programs and duration always vary. Each session is different and customized depending on the client’s age, needs and preferences. Every session can look different, but the only thing common here is the inclusion of music.
During music therapy you and your therapist will do one or more of the following – sing, listen to music, create music, dance to music, play an instrument or discuss lyrics. Sometimes music therapy sessions are done in groups and some prefer private sessions. Some music therapists treat patients in their private practice or at a nursing home, while some may come to one’s home. Whichever setting one chooses, the impact of music therapy will help people accomplish their goals and improve the quality of their lives.
Benefits Of Music Therapy On Physical Health
Reduces High Blood Pressure
A recent systematic review stated that music therapy along with lifestyle changes reduce high blood pressure. Listening to just thirty minutes of music every day may significantly reduce stress levels too.
Effective In Pain Management
Music has the power to reduce pain and helps manage pain in people who are living with chronic pain. Music therapy is increasingly used in hospitals to reduce the need for medication and also to decrease postoperative pain. Overall, music has a positive effect on pain management.
Helps In Keeping Heart Healthy
Benefits of Music therapy don’t end with its ability to help with relaxation. It has the potential to strengthen chest muscles, improve heart function and heart rate variability. Patients with heart ailments who underwent music therapy sessions were able to improve their vascular health and lower their risk of future cardiovascular disease.
Improves Body Coordination
Music therapy helps to reduce muscle tension and improves body movement and coordination. Music may play an important role in developing, maintaining and restoring physical functioning for people with movement disorders.
Control Over Headaches And Migraine Pain
Studies have shown that music therapy benefits headache and migraine sufferers to have better control over their pain. This therapy may reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of these headaches. People exposed to music had a decrease in the number of days that they experienced headaches.
Helps Boost Immunity
A particular type of music can create a positive and profound emotional experience that can increase the body’s production of immune-boosting hormones. These immune boosting hormones have the ability to invade harmful viruses and reduce the factors responsible for illness.
Benefits Of Music Therapy On Mental Health
Suppress Depression And Anxiety
Findings of a research have shown that music helps with depression symptoms and anxiety. Inspiring and exhilarating music could uplift the mood of people suffering from depression. The power of music is yet to be studied and explored fully, but there is no doubt that music has a great effect.
Improves Concentration Levels
Studies have shown significant effects of the impact of music therapy on all age groups. It’s not clear what type of music is better but listening to music enhances concentration and cognitive ability.
Helps To Induce Sleep
Many people who suffer from insomnia find that music therapy helps them improve sleep hygiene. Researchers have shown that relaxing music before bedtime can make for a good night’s sleep. Ability to fall asleep quickly can make you feel relaxed and at ease.
Reduces Stress And Aids Relaxation
Listening to certain kinds of music has proven to reduce stress. One of the great benefit of music therapy as a stress reliever is that it can be used while doing your usual chores so that it really doesn’t take an extra time. Countless studies have shown that music’s relaxing effects can be seen on all, including newborns.
Enhances Memory Performance
Music Therapy reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, speech, reasoning, and emotion. Music can help people recollect happy memories of past experiences. Children who take music lessons develop a better memory compared with children who don’t.
Trauma And Crisis Management
Music therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic application for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. For people experiencing trauma and crisis, music therapy can help with improving your mood, feeling confident, being in control and providing a non-verbal outlet for emotions.
Music therapy alone may not constitute adequate treatment for medical conditions. However, when combined with medication, psychotherapy, and other interventions, it can be an important part of a treatment plan. Find the sounds that work for you and plug in your earphones with your favorite music to get carried away by the musical waves that will make you feel relaxed and happy.