A Look into Music Therapy
While it is not a commonly known process, music therapy is an evidence-based treatment program that uses music as an aide for a variety of patients. From use in a purely therapeutic context, to being a tool used as a direct remedy for certain ailments, music therapy has a wide array of uses that are in circulation today. Here is a short rundown of music therapy, and all of the benefits it may have on you and your future health and happiness.
The idea of music therapy is very simple: it is the use of music and musical instances to help exact a specific goal, only to be performed by a certified professional. More broadly, it entails licensed music therapists playing specific types of music for their patients, based on any number of diagnoses the therapist might have made after gathering information about the ailing individual.
Use for Treatment
As it is a new and very fluid field, music therapy has set out to create a name for itself in treating a variety of different ailments, mostly psychological. Music therapy has seen mixed results in the treatment of adolescents with mood disorders in the United States, although many therapists see it as a very functional treatment for these troubled individuals. The most prevalent of the mood disorders in these individuals are clinical depression and bipolar disorder, and the music therapists that treat such ailments believe that their therapy has a soothing effect and significantly relieves the symptoms caused by the illnesses.
Music therapy has also been used in work with children, although not always with ones that have developmental or mood disorders. Some music therapists simply believe that this type of therapy can help the young brain engage in activity, and can further any necessary development that occurs during these formative years. In fact, the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas uses music therapy in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Finally, music therapy has been used for a variety of other ailments, ranging from strokes to schizophrenia. The therapists believe that while this may not be a cure for any disease, it either diminishes negative symptoms associated with the ailments, or helps activate certain areas in the brain that aid the body in the necessary rehabilitation process.
How Music Therapy Works
Music therapy shows effectiveness in a variety of ways. Human beings tend to have a visceral reaction to music, with rapid mood changes occurring even after the first measure is played. Music therapists aim to provide music that can elicit this response, in the hopes that the body begins to respond positively to the melodies occurring. Music is also very distracting, and it can often relieve negative thoughts or emotions that patients feel, filling their minds instead with positive or relaxing images. Finally, in the case of stroke patients, music therapy can help them with a process called entrainment, in which muscular movements become synchronized with the beat of the music, allowing the patients to utilize the rhythm as a crutch for their own rehabilitation.
Music therapy is rapidly emerging as a functional and effective treatment method for a variety of different ailments. With more than 40 countries in the world now practicing music therapy in hospitals, it seems the practice will only grow with time.