Benefits and Uses of Music Therapy
The number of people who believe that music therapy can create a therapeutic and holistic healing environment for sick and stressed people is rapidly growing. Music therapy is a beneficial modality that can help people of all ages take a different approach to healing. Music therapy is used in health care settings such as hospice and palliative care, oncology units, preoperative and post operative care units, and pediatric, obstetric, and cardiac units. It is also used in psychiatric hospitals, where it has been used to help explore personal feelings and make positive changes in mood and emotional states of the mentally ill.
Music therapy is also used in school settings. Specifically, it is used to foster the development of motor, communication, cognitive, and social abilities in children. Music therapy is particularly useful with children who have special needs. Creating, composing, singing, moving to, and listening to music can bring a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities into focus.
Music therapy can also improve social behavior, self-esteem, confidence, and communication skills in children. For example, Leslie Stall, from the news show 60 Minutes recently reported the story of Rex, a boy who was born with a brain tumor. He was very hyperactive and could not sit still or stay focused for any length of time. He was also very sensitive to touch. At age 2, Rex's father bought him a musical instrument and Rex responded well to it. The instrument calmed him and kept him focused. Today, Rex, is a functional and talented musician who can instantly play any tune after hearing it only one time. Although Rex still needs help with physical needs, such as lacing his shoes, music therapy has given him a vocation and a life. Oprah Winfrey reported similar results of a music therapy program for disabled and talented children.
Music therapy has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Music therapy is gaining ground as a legitimate and powerful way to treat patients with various conditions, ranging from muscle pains to different types of cancer. Music therapy has social, emotional, and psychological therapeutic benefits and can be used to stimulate creativity as well as facilitate socialization, interpersonal interactions, communication, and impulse control. Some of the physiological benefits include improved respiration, decreased blood pressure, improved cardiac output, reduced heart rate, and muscle relaxation.
Music therapy is a form of sensory stimulation that provokes emotional and spiritual responses due to familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security. It also allows clients to have a sense of control, independence, and confidence. It is a medium of communication that helps refocus attention during stressful or painful procedures and long treatments or surgery. In addition, it has been used for reduction of pain and anxiety, disability, stress management, blindness, and as a diagnostic aid to identify such problems as developmental delays and expressive disorders.
Specific physical uses of music therapy are to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, reduce anxiety in patients who have experienced myocardial infarction; improve mood postoperatively in bypass patients; and assist in the management of stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, and anxiety, especially before or during surgery.
The holistic value of music cannot be overstated. Music therapy is safe, cost-effective, noninvasive, and easy to administer, so everyone can benefit from it. In fact, everyone has likely used music at some point in life to deal with an emotional economic, spiritual, social, or political problem.
It should be noted that music therapy is not intended to used as a cure for any of the aforementioned diseases and disorders. Rather, it can serve as a complementary or alternative therapy to aid the healing process by promoting the healing environment.
Source: Holistic and Complementary Therapies
Labels: Music Therapy