Since the earliest days of humankind, the power of music, has been evident to us.
Music therapy is the process in which music is used to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of a group or individual.
It employs a variety of activities, such as listening to melodies, playing an instrument, and writing songs .
It has therapeutic benefits that help alleviate pain, fear and anxiety in individuals.
With far-reaching benefits and in a variety of settings, the types and methods of music therapy have a profound impact.
Used in conjunction with traditional therapies, positive psychology, and even as a stand-alone intervention, music therapy offers a variety of benefits.
Jillian Levy (2017) shares the six major health benefits of music therapy:
- Music therapy reduces anxiety and physical effects of stress
- It improves healing
- It can help manage Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
- Music therapy reduces depression and other symptoms in the elderly
- It helps to reduce symptoms of psychological disorders including schizophrenia
- Music therapy improves self-expression and communication
Relaxation and Music Therapy
While most of us would agree, that music can be relaxing, but how is relaxation promoted with music therapy? To begin with, music can lead to relaxation of tensed muscles (Scott, 2018). When you allow your muscles to relax and loosen your body, your mind relaxes too (Scott, 2018). Music is fun, cheap, and simple. It can decrease all the tension, worries and stress you may not even be aware of.
Listening to music can also enhance other stress-relieving activities . For example, it can aid in practicing yoga, self-hypnosis or guided imagery. In other words, music can enhance the stress-relieving properties of other relaxing activities
Music can also help the brain reach a meditative state. This promotes relaxation. Listening to music may be a lesser intimidating way for the person to practice meditation
Interesting Facts and Statistics
- 86% of users of the Nordoff-Robbins music therapy services said that music therapy had enabled them to develop social skills and interaction (Nordoff Robbins, n.d.)
- Your heartbeat changes to mimic the music that you listen to
- Distinguishing changes in sounds were found to be equipped in those as small as a developing fetus
- Listening to happy vs. sad music can affect the way you perceive the world around you
- An “earworm” is a song that you can’t seem to get out of your head
- A ‘brain itch’ is a need for the brain to fill in the gaps in a song’s rhythm
- Music triggers activity in the same part of the brain that releases dopamine (the ‘pleasure chemical’)
- Music triggers networks of neurons into an organized movement
- Learning a musical instrument can improve fine motor and reasoning skills.
These interesting facts were sourced from Ashley Blodgett (2015).
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