Music heals, we all agree with that, don’t we? Not only does it uplift our mood and make us feel good, but also has proven health benefits. Music can boost the brain’s production of ‘dopamine’ – the hormone which helps us feel pleasure and ‘endorphins’ – the hormone that reduces stress and pain. Music eases anxiety, depression, reduces the feeling of pain, stimulates memories, and well – this list isn’t all-inclusive. These health benefits have given birth to ‘Music therapy’ – where music is used to address the physical, emotional/psychological; behavioural, cognitive, social, and spiritual needs of an individual or a group of people.
About music therapy and music therapists-
Music therapy is a burgeoning field and has grown a lot in the past few years playing a great role in all facets of healing. It is a clinical and evidence-based method of using music to accomplish individual goals carried on by a credentialed professional who helps the client form a therapeutic relationship with music. These music therapists are certified and trained in an approved music therapy program. They usually belong to the field of music and have the knowledge and skill to use music to heal people and stimulate or relax their feelings.
Types of Music Therapy –
The two broad types of music therapy are receptive and active (also called creative/expressive music therapy) music therapy. Receptive music therapy involves listening to music, which can be live or recorded. The feelings, thoughts, and ideas post listening to the music may then be discussed among the client and the therapist. Receptive music therapy helps majorly in inducing relaxation, reducing anxiety and pain. On the other hand, active music therapy is where the client, along with the music therapist, indulges in any kind of music-making. It can be composing a song, rapping, drumming, or song improvisation. This type of music therapy is associated with benefits like improving brain structure and function in infants.
Benefits of Music therapy –
Music therapy is extremely beneficial for people suffering from emotional health issues such as grief, anxiety, and depression. It also benefits people who address rehabilitative needs after a stroke, a traumatic head injury, or with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Music therapy also helps in reducing the symptoms of psychological disorders like schizophrenia. Music therapy has no age bar, and you do not necessarily have to be sick to enjoy its benefits. This is because music therapy can also be used as a tool for self-improvement and personal growth, as it has also proven to improve self-expression and communication skills. It boosts immunity, enhances intelligence, IQ, and learning. It also helps control negative aspects of our personalities like worry, prejudice, and anger. It also has some amusing benefits like improving memory and focusing attention and also can enhance physical coordination and development. Overall, music therapy can increase positive feelings like calmness, confidence, emotional intimacy, and empowerment.
One important thing to note is that relying on only music therapy for the treatment of serious health conditions might not be enough. However, combining it with medications and other necessary tools in a treatment plan as guided by the health expert can help the patient manyfold.