How Music Therapy Alleviates Stress

Music is considered as a vague term because it covers the whole thing, from the whistle of a gatekeeper to the beauty of Beethoven’s 5th. But according to the views of music experts, music is an art. An art of organizing tones to create a logical sequence of sounds intended to bring forth an artistic response to a listener. In fact, music is also the life work of lots of people and has been the initiative of smiles and tears since the birth of mankind.

Music is an excellent system to learn excellence because it holds lots of details that have to be exactly right. It is usually expressed in terms of pitch that contains harmony and melody, rhythm that includes meter and tempo as well as the quality of sounds which includes dynamic, timbre, texture and articulation. Music may also entail multifaceted generative forms in time through the formation of patterns and blends of natural stimuli, predominantly sound.

In the present day, music is already used to alleviate stress and treat certain diseases. In fact, listening to music does wonder to ease stress. But be guided that everybody has different preferences in music, so listen only to the types of music that you feel comfortable because forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that you don’t like may trigger stress, not alleviate it in the long run.

With music, you are assured to gain a few health benefits from its sound. One great example from the bible is when David played the harp to help alleviate the severe depression of King Solomon. By then, music got its name as a great healer since it not only alleviates certain health condition but also it is a significant mood-changer that works on many levels promptly.

Music therapy can be one of the most calming experiences accessible. According to expert’s reviews and studies, they found out that any piece of music produces a good effect in the physiological response system. The most insightful discovery was any music performed live and even at reasonably volume had an extremely helpful response. Whenever the right sounds were experienced, this is the time when the right and left brain hemisphere synchronization happened. The standard voltage pattern converted to a soft sinusoidal wave form and the normal voltage degree of difference equalized. The whole energetic system of human is tremendously influenced by sounds and the chakra centers as well as the physical body take action particularly to certain frequencies and tones.

Another benefit of music therapy is it reduces the pain during surgical and dental procedures. And among the first stress-fighting changes that happen when we take notice of a tune is an elevation in deep breathing. This means that the production of serotonin in human body also increases. Also, it has been found out that listening to music in the background while doing some tasks alleviates stress. On the other hand, the finest health benefits of music therapy is it promotes higher body temperature and trim down heart rates, making it a sign of the beginning of relaxation.

Ultimately, music is not only a form of health enhancement but it is also a great relaxation therapy. Combining relaxation therapy and music is an effective system to lessen stress brought by certain stressors as well as a form of therapy.

Music Therapy: Can Music Really Soothe The Savage Beast?

It has long been suggested that “music soothes the savage beast.” But is this true? And if it is, does this have any implication where humans are concerned? The answer, apparently, is yes. To illustrate this, researchers point to the different physiological changes that take place within the human body in response to different sounds and noises. A loud noise that shatters the silence sets the human heart racing and stimulates a rush of adrenaline that prepares you for flight. In contrast a soft, soothing sound helps us to relax.

Music therapy has, in fact, been around for thousands of years. Nearly four thousand years ago the Hebrew Scriptures recorded that the boy who would later become King David was hired by his predecessor to play the harp to calm King Saul when he would go into a rage. Likewise, the use of music therapy is found in the writings of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome.

More recently, scientists have been studying the effects of music therapy and have documented changes in respiratory rates, blood pressure, and pulse in response to musical stimuli. Likewise, researchers in the realm of music therapy have found that the use of music therapy can be effective in areas as diverse as IQ and recovery rates, pain management and weight loss.

Some object that this sounds too good to be true. How can music therapy change something like pain management? Researchers tell us that the reason music therapy works is based on how we hear. Sound is little more than vibrations in the air that are picked up by the inner ear and transferred to the brain which is a key component in your nervous system and controls the functions of the body and the brain responds to the stimuli that it is given.

In light of this, music therapy can and often is used in a wide variety of applications. One common application for music therapy is in working with autistic individuals because research has found that music can help autistic children to express themselves. Likewise, music therapy has been found to help individuals with physical disabilities to develop better motor skills.

With music therapy, individuals with high levels of anxiety can be helped to express suppressed emotions thereby discharging anger, or enabling the individual to express the joy they would not otherwise be able to express. Likewise, research has found that music therapy can help lower the anxiety levels of hospital patients who find themselves facing frightening prospects and in an unfamiliar environment. Furthermore, music therapy has been found to help medical professionals with pain management such that they have been able to reduce pain medication by as much as one half by helping to stimulate the production of the body’s own pain killers, called endorphins.

Music therapy can come is a wide variety of forms. In some cases it’s as simple as having the individual listen to particular music. In other cases music therapy requires a more interactive approach, having the individual respond to the music either in dance or using some other form of expression. But in its many forms, music therapy has often been found to be beneficial.

Music Therapy Empowers Those With Disabilities to Reach Goals

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in a wide variety of healthcare and educational settings.”

In layman’s terms, music therapy, provided by music therapists, uses music to help others reach non-musical goals. Music therapists go into schools, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and even family homes to do such things as:

• Improve communication

• Develop motor skills

• Manage stress

• Increase self-expression

• Enhance learning

• Promote social skills

• Improve daily living skills

• Assist memory recall

My younger son began music therapy in 2005. One of his first goals was to differentiate between the “ch” and “sh” sounds. His therapist wrote a song about a “choo choo” train, which went “chugga chugga”. Through singing the song, my son learned “ch” sound and how it was different from “sh”. He has also learned to “breathe in… out… in… out… to calm down” when he’s upset.

My older son began music therapy in 2010. With his therapist, he has written songs to express his feelings and tell his story. He has destressed and improved his communication through his writing. He and his therapist recorded their song on CD. He felt a sense of accomplishment as he proudly shared the music.

Other clients play instruments to improve their motor skills or sing songs to work on speech therapy goals. Clients might learn to follow directions by following the directions sung by the therapist. Another goal may be to learn “volume control” and practice singing softly and loudly.

Music therapy is a fun way to reach important goals and learn crucial life skills.

Benefits Of Music Therapy

Music therapy uses music to promote positive changes in the wellbeing of an individual. These positive changes may be manifested in changes in physical development, social and interpersonal development, emotional or spiritual wellbeing or cognitive abilities.

The therapeutic benefits of music have been known and harnessed since ancient times. However, music therapy in modern times dates back to the World Wars when music was used in hospitals in the rehabilitation and recovery of soldiers who had suffered physical or emotional trauma. The University of Kansas was the first University in the United States to offer a degree program in music therapy in 1944.

Early exponents of music therapy in the 1950’s to 1970’s included the French cellist Juliet Alvin and Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins. The Nordoff-Robbins approach is still used in many countries around the world including the USA, UK, Australia, Germany and South Africa.

So, how does music therapy work?

Music is universal and connects across language barriers. Most people can respond to music in some way regardless of illness or disability.

Music has an inherent ability to generate an emotional response in the listener. It stimulates a relaxation response which can therefore lead to physiological changes in the body. Music is known to reduce stress thereby producing related benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved respiration, reduced heart rate, better cardiac performance and reduced tension in muscles.

Music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain and this stimulation has been shown to help in development of language and speech functions. It promotes socialization and development of communication, self expression and motor skills. Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder have been found to respond very positively to music and many of them display high levels of musical skill.

Music encourages verbal as well as non verbal communication and promotes social interaction and relatedness. It’s a valuable outlet for self expression and creativity. It has also been successfully used in pain management by providing a distraction from the painful stimulus as well as a means of relaxation and stress alleviation.

Children with developmental and learning difficulties,children and adults with autism spectrum disorder or special needs as well as the elderly and dementia sufferers have all been shown to benefit from music therapy. Although the benefits of music therapy have been accepted intuitively and based on anecdotal evidence it wasn’t till recently that quantitative evidence of its efficacy started to emerge.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine blood samples of a group of male Alzheimer’s patients who were treated with music therapy were found to have significantly elevated levels of melatonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine which are chemicals which act on the brain to control mood, depression, aggression and sleep. The benefits of the therapy were still evident even six weeks after cessation of the therapy and in the case of melatonin the effects persisted even longer.

Music therapy is gaining wider acceptance in the general medical community and has certainly stood the test of time. Music therapists can now be found practicing in a variety of institutions dealing with mental health, developmental and early intervention programs, correctional institutions and special education programs to name but a few. Many are having success where traditional treatment methods have failed.