It's difficult to discover someone who doesn't have a strong connection to music. Even if you can't carry a tune or play an instrument, you surely know a few songs that bring back wonderful memories and lift your emotions. Surgeons have long played their favourite music in the operating room to ease tension, and extending music to patients has been related to better surgical outcomes. Music therapy has become increasingly important in all aspects of recovery over the last few decades.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is a growing profession. People who become licenced music therapists are usually talented musicians who have a thorough understanding of how music can elicit emotional reactions in order to relax, stimulate, or heal people. They use this information, as well as their acquaintance with a wide range of musical styles, to locate the particular type that can help you get through a difficult physical rehab session or guide you into meditation. And they can find it in your preferred genre, whether it's electropop or grand opera.
Holly Chartrand, a music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, began her musical career as a singer. She decided to become a music therapist after realising that she could utilise music to help others in the same way that it had helped her throughout her life. "Seeing how much of an impact music can have on someone who isn't feeling well is my favorite part of my job," she says.
Music therapists have minimal limitations. They might perform music for you or with you, or they might even teach you how to play an instrument. On any given day, Chartrand may enter a patient's room with a tank drum, a ukulele, or an iPad with speakers. "With today's technology, we have so much access to all kinds of music that I can find and play nearly any kind of music you like," she explains.
Is Music Therapy for Depression effective?
The researchers looked into the immediate effects of music on the moods of unhappy persons. They discovered that listening to music has the same effect as noise or simply sitting silently. A study that combined music with cognitive behaviour therapy (a proven depression treatment) discovered that it had a positive effect on depression.
The evidence for music therapy's benefits
A growing body of research attests that music therapy is more than a nice perk. It can improve medical outcomes and quality of life in a variety of ways. Here's a sampling:
Easing anxiety and discomfort during procedures: People who listened to music before having colonoscopies, coronary angiography, or knee surgery experienced less anxiety and required fewer sedatives in controlled clinical trials. Patients who listened to music in the operating room reported less pain during their treatment. Those who heard music in the recovery room also required less narcotic pain medication.
Restoring lost speech: People recovering from a stroke or severe brain injury that has affected the left-brain region responsible for speech can benefit from music therapy. Because singing ability begins on the right side of the brain, people can get around a left-side brain lesion by singing their thoughts first and then gradually dropping the melody. Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords utilised this technique to testify before a Congressional committee two years after a gunshot wound to her head had rendered her speechless.
Reducing side effects of cancer therapy: Music helps to alleviate the anxiety linked with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can also relieve nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients.
Helping with physical therapy and rehabilitation: If you exercise to music, you've probably found that it helps you stay on track. According to a 2011 review of multiple research, music therapy improves people's physical, psychological, cognitive, and emotional functioning throughout physical rehabilitation programmes.
Aiding pain relief: Music therapy has been tried on a wide range of patients, from those suffering from severe short-term pain to those suffering from chronic arthritis pain. Overall, music therapy improves pain perception, reduces the amount of pain medicine required, aids in the treatment of depression in pain sufferers, and provides them with a sense of greater control over their pain.
Improving quality of life for people with dementia: Music therapy can help to revive memories, reduce agitation, aid communication, and enhance physical coordination since the ability to engage with music remains intact late in the disease process.