Music Therapy for Body, Mind and Spirit

Music therapy is one of several healing art forms that is progressively gaining prominence and a place among complementary mind, body, spirit therapies offered in hospitals in the United States. Music as a healing art has been around for eons and now there are research reports that document its effectiveness and benefits.

Music has been a part of cultures and societies throughout history. It may have been in the form of drumming, chanting, toning and musical instruments of the time. Shamans, medicine woman and man, tribal sweat lodge singings, initiation ceremonies and funerals used music to promote healing and a smooth transition after life.

Benefits

It is, without a doubt, a beautiful, melodic form of therapy that can reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, lift depression and produce feelings of happiness. Music is energy and produces a flowing of inappropriate (negative effect) energy within the body, outward from the body (positive) resulting in restoration of balance and harmony.

Sound waves are produced by music and they are processed in many areas of the brain which then influences the condition of the body. Thereby, bringing harmony to the body, mind, spirit and the emotions. Research has demonstrated the beneficial effects on a person’s blood pressure, muscle tension and respiratory rate.

Categories of music include:

1. Big Band-Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman
2. Jazz-John Coltrane, Miles Davis
3. Blues-B. B. King, John L. Hooker
4. Ambient/New Age-Brian Eno, Halpern
5. Baroque-Bach, Handel
6. Classical-Beethoven, Mozart

Listening to music one hour a day can improve learning, promote clarity of values, personal intent and creativity.

Harp music (harp therapy) has been used to reduce pain, anxiety and promote relaxation.

Music has the ability, according to various studies and lived experiences, to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is released when there are rewards and pleasures such as music, food, sex and drugs. It is a ‘feel good’ substance, a motivator. Music for healing is pleasurable experience. The pleasure of music can distract a person from feelings of pain, lower blood pressure and reduce depression.

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.