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What Is Music Therapy And Its Benefits

Music lights up the emotional area of the brain, the reward system and the pleasure pathways. It means patients can be in their own world, they can be comfortable and have full control.

What is music therapy and its benefits?

For most people, music is an important part and for few it is also a daily routine in their life. Some rely on music to get them through the morning commute, while others turn up a favorite playlist to stay pumped during a workout. Many people even have the stereo on when they’re cooking a meal, taking a shower, or folding the laundry.

All forms of music may have therapeutic effects. it depends on each individual. In Chinese medical theory, the five internal organ and meridian systems are believed to have corresponding musical tones, which are used to encourage healing.

Music is often linked to mood. and it is true. A certain song can make us feel happy, sad, energetic, or relaxed. Because music can have such an impact on a person’s mindset and well-being, it should come as no surprise that music therapy has been studied for use in managing numerous medical conditions.

Music is often linked to mood

Types of music differ in the types of neurological stimulation they evoke.

For example, classical music has been found to cause comfort and relaxation while rock music may lead to discomfort. Music may achieve its therapeutic effects in part by elevating the pain threshold.
Music may be used with guided imagery to produce altered states of consciousness that help uncover hidden emotional responses and stimulate creative insights.

Music may also be used in the classroom to aid children in the development of reading and language skills. Receptive methods involve listening to and responding to live or recorded music. (source)

There is strong scientific evidence supporting the use of music therapy for mood enhancement and anxiety/stress relief, according to Natural Standard research.

Here are few health benefits of the 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

music therapy improves self-expression

A List of Music Therapy Techniques

These are different types of music therapy techniques that you can try to enhance the physical and mental well-being:

  • Different music therapy techniques are put forward by Soundscape Music Therapy:
  • Drumming
  • Improvising music on instruments of voice
  • Writing song lyrics
  • Writing the music for new songs
  • Learning to play an instrument, such as piano or guitar
  • Creating art with music
  • Dancing or moving to live or recorded music
  • Writing choreography for music
  • Discussing one’s emotional reaction or meaning attached to a particular song or improvisation
  • Listening to live or recorded music
  • Learning music-assisted relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation or
  • deep breathing
  • Singing of familiar songs with live or recorded accompaniment
  • Playing instruments, such as hand percussion

How music therapy can be used for pre surgery patients?

A Research study suggests that some of the world’s best relaxing songs could be as good as a sedative in calming the nerves of a patient before surgery.

It has also shown that reducing the anxiety of a patient before surgery can speed up recovery. It is mainly because stress hormones can delay the healing process. Drugs are currently used to calm the nerves, but they have some side-effects. Research says that music therapy can be used as an alterative to these drugs.

The study, published in the BMJ journal, looked at the effects of music in reducing blood pressure, anxiety and heart rate of a patient. The research team found that a soothing song can be as good as a sedative.

The scientists from the University of Pennsylvania selected 157 people, who were preparing for surgeries. Then, they divided the participants into two groups. The first group of patients was made to hear the song Weightless by the UK band Marconi Union.Second group was given 1mg to 2mg of midazolam, which was injected three minutes before the peripheral nerve block.

Those involved in the study were having a type of regional anaesthetic, or peripheral nerve block.

The study scored patients’ levels of anxiety following the two treatments – and found participants who had listened to music were just as relaxed as those who were given the sedative.
However, patients in the drug group were happier with their overall experience, although this may have been because participants were not allowed to choose the music they listened to.

study scored patients' levels of anxiety

According to Forbes, the band collaborated with a therapist to produce the ultra-relaxing tune, which aims to lower the listener’s blood pressure, stress levels and heart rate.

“Pre-operative anxiety is common and can raise levels of stress hormones in the body, affecting its ability to recover after surgery,” according to a team from the University of Pennsylvania writing in the journal Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

The team said “music medicine” could be used as an alternative to midazolam before peripheral nerve block injections.

But they said “further studies are warranted to evaluate whether or not the type of music, as well as how it is delivered, offers advantages over midazolam that outweigh the increase in communication barriers”.

The research team stated that anxiety reduction through drugs can have its own side effects. It may need constant monitoring by the doctors. On the other hand, music is inexpensive and “virtually harm-free.”

“Music lights up the emotional area of the brain, the reward system and the pleasure pathways. It means patients can be in their own world, they can be comfortable and have full control,” Dr Veena Graff, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care from University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said.

Although the patients who were played the song felt relaxed during the surgery, many of them said they would have been more happy if they were allowed to choose their own music. The doctors also faced some unexpected challenge while communicating with the patients because of the noise canceling headphones.(source)

Few facts about music therapy:

  • Learning a musical instrument can improve fine motor and reasoning skills
  • A ‘brain itch’ is a need for the brain to fill in the gaps in a song’s rhythm
  • Distinguishing changes in sounds were found to be equipped in those as small as a developing fetus
  • Music triggers networks of neurons into an organized movement
  • Listening to happy vs. sad music can affect the way you perceive the world around you
  • An “ear-worm” is a song that you can’t seem to get out of your head
  • Music triggers activity in the same part of the brain that releases dopamine (the ‘pleasure chemical’)
  • Your heartbeat changes to mimic the music that you listen to
  • 86% of users of the Nor-doff-Robbins music therapy services said that music therapy had enabled them to develop social skills and interaction (source)

Listening to happy vs. sad music can affect the way

Conclusion:

A Research study suggests that some of the world’s best relaxing songs could be as good as a sedative in calming the nerves of a patient before surgery. Apart from only sedation, music therapy is widely used in different health benefits like the Parkinson’s diseases and Alzheimer’s. There are many scientific reasons behind the music therapy, few related to chemical changes in the body after listening to music. There are different ways every person can use music therapy to improve their physical and mental well being.

For more related articles regarding Mental and physical health:

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The prevention and control of diabetes mellitus: lifestyle and dietary
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Harmful effects of soft drinks on human body that can kill you!
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Self life hacks

Doctor by profession and blogger by passion

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