What is Music Therapy?
In a few words, Music Therapy is when a therapist employs music and all of its different facets to help patients improve their physical and mental health. It is an alternative method that can each a patient physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, aesthetically and even spiritually. Generally Music Therapists use this method to help patients improve several domains of their well-being. They seek to help with their cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, social skills, and overall, enhance their quality of life. They have patients sing, listen to certain music, discuss it, and even dance to achieve the treatment goals.
The subject of music, transcending more than just art form and expanding to other fields has earned an extensive amount of research. The result of said research has been the inclusion by professionals in clinical therapy, psychotherapy, biomusicology, and sensory integration among others. Patients can pursue this alternative way of therapy independently, or other professional therapists can refer them to it.
Despite Music being used for healing for centuries in many different civilizations, it wasn’t until the aftermath of World War I that Music Therapy began to be scientifically used on soldiers that were suffering from war-related emotional and physical trauma. Since then, approaches in music therapy have emerged from different studies and research of the human brain by Neurologic investigations. Music therapists focus mainly on behavioral and emotional disorders, but with time different other fields have expanded the use to other fields of wellness for patients of all ages, from prenatal music therapy, to older adults with dementia.
Most recently, Alzheimer’s disease as well as other types of Dementia are among the disorders most commonly treated with music therapy. The use in music in these patients have produced surprising results over the years. Patients have achieved significant improvements in social behaviors, leading to improvements in interaction, conversation and other such skills. Due to these effects of music in dementia and Alzheimer patients, neurologists have begun studying more and more the positive effects of music on patients that are struggling with this type of condition, as it has open a new path way in understanding the human mind and its health.
As for the regular average individual, the effects of music are also available. Just think on the last time you heard a song you loved and how that affected your mood, how it brought back memories, and how you felt at that particular time. Or think of your go-to music whenever you want to feel happy or are in a festive mood. Music can help you stabilize your mood and it can also help you find balance. Relaxing music, or music to help against stress and anxiety is available in music stores and easily to find online. But, when in doubt play music that you like, that you enjoy.