Music is the art of conveying emotions or expressions through vocal or instrumental sounds or a combination of both. Much like mood enhancing pills, therapies based on music are gaining widespread popularity amongst professional therapists owing to their positive responses in patients as well as lack of any side effects.
Music Therapy Definition
Music therapy definition is versatile. In its simplest form music therapy as a form of diversion or distraction that helps an individual to relax much like concentration exercises can do as well. The more pronounced music therapy definition used in medical sciences defines it as the professional use of music as a form of intervention for therapeutic purposes that aid a patient in achieving physical, social, spiritual or emotion goals and overall well-being. It may be used to in women to aid in pregnancy, help patients recuperating after surgeries, lower anxiety and stress levels etc. Music Therapy is used in an array of surroundings ranging from rehabilitation centers, to schools or nursing homes, or even within an individuals own house. The therapy may include listening to music, or making music, writing songs etc.
Effects of Music Therapy
Effects of music therapy can be experienced on the physical, mental as well as emotional levels.
Physical changes: The rhythm of music can regulate the brain activity, breathing patterns in individuals, as well as alter the heart rates and blood pressure. For instance, high volume and fast speed music increases an individual’s heart beat rate as well as blood pressure, and slower paced and low volume music have the opposite effect. Effects of music therapy can also be manifested into higher levels of stress relieving hormones, natural pain killers and neurotransmitters in the brain.
Mental effects: The style or type of music has also been associated with enhanced learning and memorization capabilities. This may be attributed to the fact that people have an increased ability to concentrate when listening to certain kinds of music.
Emotional effects: Music can be used to induce feelings of fear, happiness, tension, excitement or calmness depending on the kind of music. This helps in calming patients suffering from stress, anxiety, depression etc.
Music Therapy Benefits
Music therapy benefits people of all ages regardless of caste, creed, religion or culture. This is because music is a non vocal phenomenon and thus it cuts across all barriers of language. Music therapy is beneficial for children with communication disabilities. This can be owed to the fact that music stimulates both the hemispheres of the brain thereby fostering language and speaking abilities. It also helps in greater self-awareness and socialization as it promotes the flow of creativity and also helps in expressing oneself. Pain management is another avenue that music therapy benefits. Music has the ability to cause a distraction, as well as alleviate stress and promote relaxation in patients suffering from acute pain. The elderly people are another segment that responds positively to music.
Older patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s etc. tend to be less agitated and respond well to medications when coupled with therapy involving music.
Music induced therapies have also proved beneficial to people suffering from some form of addiction or substance abuse. It helps divert their attention to something creative, promotes social interaction as well as gives them a better comprehension about the reality.