Did you ever observe how your mood changes every time you listen to music? For millions of centuries, humans have always believed that music is a way of life. Listening to creating music expresses a way of dealing with difficult situations and to create a better connection with each other. Music has been a part of life for many cultures around the world because of its powerful impact on our feelings and emotions. Not only that, but music also has the natural ability to increase our levels of neurochemicals or our “feel good” endorphins.
Because of the advantages of the influence of music, it is now recognized and added to several rehabilitation programs all over the world. Thus, that’s where music therapy began.
Music therapy experts have claimed that this form of therapy can help achieve improvement globally particularly in personal health and well-being without relying on prescribed medications. It is expected that continued research will keep evolving concerning the benefits of music therapy. Music therapy is also expected to be included in different settings. This includes schools, hospitals, therapist office, universities and special needs programs.
Define music therapy
Music therapy or MT is based on the premise that using music as a means of therapy for patients using none other than music. It aims at improvising music to suit the needs of the patients. Sessions are often done one-on-one, but it can also be conducted in a group setting.
Several studies are showing the association of improved emotional and motor functions in patients and music. Furthermore, a positive impact is also seen in a wide range of diseases when music therapy is being practiced.
Generally, there are two primary categories of music therapy. This is known as the passive and active. With active MT, it involves communication between the patient and therapist. The therapy usually entails both patient and therapist using musical instruments or their voices. The session can even be conducted through stretching and dancing to music.
When passive therapy is used, the patient is invited by the therapist to visualize images that display peacefulness. The patient is also asked to relax and contemplate on their internal thoughts and feelings all the while calming music is being played in the background.
Using musical therapy is developed to engage the sensory organs as much as possible. It would integrate our sense of sight, touch, and sound. The melodic and rhythmic properties of music are being manipulated in both active and passive MT to create stimulation in a patient through the sensory organs. This would help reveal and process through a person’s emotions. These emotions include negative ones like frustration, sadness and grief and positive ones like joy and gratitude.
How does music affect our body and brain?
Research has suggested that music therapy can work to help relieve stress, work against negative states of mind, and somehow even lower depression. Moreover, with music therapy, the use of prescribed medication or oral shots and even hypnosis can be significantly reduced as well. Some of the ways music therapy can help us feel better are in the following ways:
– Confidence and self-acceptance
– Ability to express and sense of self-awareness
– Motor skills integration
– A feeling of belonging
– Normal use of speech abilities
– A better relationship and communication with other people
What health benefits can music therapy provide?
In a certain health article, music has been used already for thousands of years because of its ability to make a person better. However, it was only sometimes in 2000s that music therapy has become a professional healing method based on scientific reports.
Some studies have shown that the manipulation of light and sound can have a dramatic effect on how a person’s fast health recovery. Ever since then, many hospitals have incorporated the use of music as a part of creating holistic environments which can effectively improve trauma treatments. Moreover, using music can also help treat common diseases, cure boredom and restlessness and even alleviate burn-outs among caregivers.
With that said, the use of music therapy, whether active or passive, proves to have health benefits. Below are five ways music therapy is an ideal method for treatment:
- It helps speed up healing of illnesses
Studies suggest that music therapy has a positive impact on our neurological structure especially the ones releasing stress hormones. It can significantly lower stress levels which is beneficial for our systems involved in healing like immune, respiratory, cardiac and neurological functions.
- It helps lower depression and other symptoms among the elderly
Nowadays, the use of MT is recommended in centers that care for the elderly. It is because MT has shown significant improvement in older adults with social, intellectual, psychological and cognitive problems.
- It helps manage neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
While conventional treatment is usually recommended for people who have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, MT has also proven to be a good type of treatment. Some researchers have stated that music operates as a particular stimulus to gain responses from our motor and emotional abilities through the combination of different sensory paths.
- It helps to reduce anxiety and physical stress
A medical journal that was published mentioned that while there are a lot of personal preferences, music has a positive physiological effect across the central nervous system. When music is played, it helps produce a mentally relaxed state, therefore, reducing stress. That is why music has become a kind of natural therapy for various diseases.
- It helps improve communication and self-expression
Music has a profound effect on people who have challenges in self-expression. Listening to music has significantly improved a person’ ability to respond through feedback that is verbal and non-verbal based on stimuli of music changes.
Music therapy has proved considerable advantages to our health that it is now being practiced professionally. If you feel you have health problems and would like to seek non-medicated therapies, MT is one good way.
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