Music Therapy and Healing Beats
If we were to notate the highs and lows in our lives onto music sheets, what would the rhythm of our lives show us? Would our days start out slowly, Adagio, and build as the day drew on, ending in a loud Fortissimo blare begging for a way to relax and sleep? Or are you always on a brisk Allegro ride full of life and high beats?
Your individual song would show us how the rhythmic beats of our daily interactions, and how we identify and deal with them, directly affect our state of mind and mental wellbeing.
Behind everyone's favorite song – is an untold story
The human response to sound is powerful. Simple vibrations resonate through our emotional core pulling out both laughter and tears, drifting us on notes of times past, or even carrying us with positive words to a new future. Through love songs we might feel love deeper, or we might lose ourselves in precious memories. Behind everyone's favorite song, often there is an untold story of why it effects them so emotionally. Essentially, music and songs have the power to pitch us into the waves of an emotional storm.
So, why do our minds respond to music, prefer certain rhythms over others, or even get stuck repeating certain beats over-and-over again? Why do certain songs lift us up while others bring us down?
The science and research explaining all the reasons and reactions has not been completely figured out but is ongoing because the use of music in therapy has been found to be so beneficial. Being able to explain it completely may not be necessary to appreciate the role of music in both igniting and calming the mind. After all, do we have to know the chemistry behind the sun to know it warms us and that its absence at the end of the day brings change to our lives? Not really. The same can be said to be true with how the rhythms in life affect the rhythms in our bodies.
Music Therapy (MT), when used by qualified therapists and combined with standard therapies, has been found to improve lives by improving both mental and physical health, without negative effects, to such an extent, that although it is not completely understood, its potential benefits outweigh the risks.
Music to me is like breathing.
I don't get tired of breathing.
I don't get tired of music.
When added to traditional therapies, MT has been found to considerably lessen anxiety, depression, and even pain in patients ranging from preterm infants to end-of-life care. These benefits extend to use during surgical and dental procedures. Consider how what may seem like a simple dental visit to one person may induce unbelievable stress and anxiety in another. These are the times when music therapy can be brought in to calm the mind. Procedures such as colonoscopies, cancer treatments, and dental visits can affect not only a patient’s emotional experience, but also a patient’s ability to hold still during possibly painful procedures. MT has been shown to lessen anxieties and pain during procedures such as these. Its ability to bring peace to the mind is further recognized in mental health treatment.
The psychology of music and its positive effects on body systems and mental health has shown especially positive results when used in the treatment of schizophrenia and/or serious mental disorders and Parkinson’s disease. Even some treatment-resistant mental health patients have experienced positive results when music therapy was added to their standard treatments.
So how do we use music therapy best? Research has shown that music in doses, like standard medications, shows better results. “Slight improvements can be seen with a few therapy sessions, but longer courses or more frequent sessions are needed to achieve more substantial benefits.” Qualified music therapists are trained to work with the emotional and physical needs of their patients while understanding the power behind this therapy tool. Specialized therapists understand the need to couple the right type of music with each patient to address individual needs. Music therapy is not an answer by itself; it is, instead, an accompaniment to a longer work intended to improve the quality of lives.
Register HERE with one of our Expert Life Baristas to explore your life song.
About Author: Josie is a freelance journalist focused on science, education, military history and lifestyle articles. She is a Social Media Strategist for E-Therapy Cafe. Josie's work includes research contribution, content writing, and editing for various projects including, MOAC, a graphic representation of historical force management initiatives in the Army (maintained by the U.S. Army Force Management School), crisis negotiations training for the U.S. Army MP School, lifestyle articles, and item writer / editor for national educational assessments. Contact Josie HERE
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