The Benefits of Music Therapy

Music Therapy for Seniors. Courtesy of Champion Home Health Care.

The traditional way of therapy can be innovated with the latest technological tools or with a simple instrument such as music.

In a mass study done by Levitin and Mona Lisa Chanda, PhD in 2013, they found that music improves the body’s immune system function and reduces stress.

Music has a way of connecting people in ways verbal communication can’t. Music is a way to express, a way to feel or allow yourself to reconnect with parts of yourself you never thought you could face. There is at least one song anyone can think of that gives them some sort of emotional response and this could be because of the way the brain responds to music, more specifically, the reward system that releases dopamine, or the feel good chemical. Dopamine if often associated with other things such as food or sex.

U.S. Navy Members play music for patients. Courtesy Photo/ Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric C. Tretter.

According to the American Music Therapy Association(AMTA), this type of therapy is designed to promote wellness among patients, alleviate patients manage stress, help patients express feelings and more.

Music therapy has existed since the 20th century when people would play for World War II veterans. Now there are approximately, 5,000 certified music therapists in the USA, according to the AMTA.

Music therapy would often be mistaken for volunteer activities involving playing an instrument or music to groups such as young children or the elderly, however, music therapy actually involves a more with the scientific knowledge in the fields of psychology, music and medicine.

Professional music therapists actually work with children, the injured or the elderly, to reduce their pain, improve their communication skills , or even improve motor functions.

Patients don’t necessarily have to have musical capabilities or don’t listen to the same genre or instrument. Each form of treatment is utilized by tailoring the style to the patient.

While this is a method that exists, it is not for everyone. Some can resist from this or any form of treatment and in the end, it is their choice if they want to heal.

Whatever approach you decide to take, it is clear that the benefits of music go far beyond the auditory. Take it from Billy Joel who thoughtfully expressed his own thoughts on the power of music:

“I think music in itself is healing.” 

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