Music is often considered to be the language of the soul. It has the power to move us emotionally, intellectually, and even spiritually. Music can be therapeutic, and its use as a tool for healing has been recognised since ancient times. Music therapy is a form of expressive therapy that involves using music to improve a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health.
Music therapy has been shown to have numerous benefits for individuals suffering from a wide range of health issues, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and addiction. It has also been used to help individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism and Down syndrome, as well as those with neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The application of music as a therapeutic tool involves working with a music therapist, who is trained to use music to address specific therapeutic goals. The therapist may use a variety of techniques, such as songwriting, improvisation, and even just the act of listening to music, to help the individual achieve their goals.
One of the most significant benefits of music therapy is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Music has been shown to have a calming effect on the body and mind, reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. In one study, patients who listened to music before surgery experienced lower levels of anxiety and pain than those who did not listen to music.
As well as anxiety, it is effective in treating depression. Music can evoke emotions and memories, which can help individuals process and express their feelings. A study conducted by the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland found that music therapy was as effective as standard treatments, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, in reducing symptoms of depression.
Chronic pain can be a challenging condition to treat, and traditional treatments, such as medication, are not always effective. Music therapy can help reduce pain by distracting the individual, promoting relaxation, and increasing the release of endorphins.
Music therapy has also been used to help individuals with developmental disabilities improve their communication skills, enhance their social interactions, and develop their fine and gross motor skills as well ascexpress their emotions and reduce problem behaviours.
Additionally, music therapy can be tailored to fit individual needs and preferences. The therapist can work with the individual to identify music that resonates with them and use that music to facilitate therapeutic progress. This personalised approach can help individuals feel more engaged in the therapeutic process, leading to better outcomes.
However, group settings, such as in hospitals, schools, and community centres should also be considered. This can help promote socialisation, improve communication skills, and enhance overall well-being. It can also be a more fun and enjoyable way to connect with others and form meaningful relationships.
It is not specified to one person, it can be used for all genders, backgrounds and ages, from young children to older adults. It is a non-invasive and safe form of therapy that does not require any special equipment or training. It can be easily integrated into a person’s daily life and can be continued outside of therapy sessions, such as by listening to music at home or participating in musical activities in the community. This makes it simpler to use in junction with other forms of therapy, such as talk therapy or medication. Combining music therapy with other forms of therapy can enhance the overall therapeutic experience and improve outcomes.
Despite the numerous benefits of music therapy, it is still relatively under-utilised. Many people are not aware of its effectiveness and may not have access to trained music therapists in their communities. Additionally, insurance coverage for music therapy may be limited or non-existent, making it difficult for individuals to afford this form of therapy.
To address these issues, there is a need for greater awareness of the benefits with increased funding for research and training programs so that people truly understand and believe how this method can help so many around them. It isn’t necessarily a cure but it is definitely a helpful tool to assist.
Do you feel like music has helped you through some darker times? Has it ever made you feel less isolated? Less stress? Less anxious? Has it helped you find an outlet to express yourself? I am almost certain that you answered yes to at least one of these questions. Now imagine using that within a professional environment and all the difference it can make. This is why it is important to for music therapy to get the recognition it deserves, so we can help more people feel less alone.