Music Therapy: Healing With Music
Cover Art: Alex Chen
Music can be used in a variety of ways, whether that be communicating with the world, finding peace within yourself, or simply being a hobby that you are passionate about. However, it is a lesser known fact that music can actually be used to assist in battling different health-related problems. More commonly known as “music therapy,” music is used in the medical realm and provides support for an individual’s emotional, cognitive and physical aspects. To better understand the use of music therapy, recognizing the ways in which it can be executed is vital.
Music therapy may be carried out in multiple methods, and it all depends on the specific patient and their interests. In order to further involve the patient, the music therapist will work with the patient to produce either a song or a tune. Examples of this could consist of playing instruments, songwriting, composing, and rhythm/beat making. This is called the creative process. In what is called the receptive process, the music therapist provides experiences that will include actually listening to the music, which will thereby generate different emotions and outcomes. Patients are then encouraged to share the thoughts, ideas, emotions, and any feelings that the music could have brought about. The creative process and receptive process are two different procedures that the music therapist will need to choose from when deciding which method their patient will benefit from the most.
The settings that music therapy is used in will vary from patient to patient. Every session that uses music therapy is designed to accommodate that specific patient or group, and it also takes into account the health problem or issue the patient may be struggling with. Professional and certified music therapists are able to work with many different patients who, for instance, may be dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety. They could also assist victims after a head injury, stroke, or Alzheimers, and other chronic diseases. Music therapy can be implemented into use with people suffering from a wide range of health issues, which is what makes it so versatile and advantageous in the medical world.
Now the question arises, does music therapy actually work, and how effective is it? Just like any other obscure medical “cure,” skepticism will arise amongst people, and experts will be bombarded with a number of questions. The origin of music therapy itself can date back all the way to BCE. Music therapy was mainly seen and used in Native American culture and Greek mythology. Musicians would play music for the injured soldiers, and the soldiers’ moods would considerably improve after listening to the music. Thereafter, hospitals would ask musicians to come in and play music for their patients due to the very positive results previously mentioned. Perhaps the greatest characteristic of music therapy is that it is personalized for every patient. While one patient may show amazing progress from playing an instrument, another may find writing a song more valuable. Some physical benefits of musical therapy have been proven to be as follows: lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, relaxed muscle tension, and improved respiration. Music has also been said to be one of the best remedies for high anxiety levels or high levels of stress. Music therapy has effectively minimized pain during surgeries and distracts them from what is happening, especially among children.
When used in the correct way, music can demonstrate a substantial amount of impact within the health industry. Music therapy is widely used in a number of countries, and its inexpensive outlook is one that simply cannot be ignored. Using music in such a way that will benefit people for the greater good is incredible, and the fact that music can have such a positive result on people’s health is just fascinating. When we listen to music, it makes us feel so much and helps us get through the worst situations. Simply knowing that music is serving as a medicine to someone out there in need brings about a sense of peace and serenity.