What Is Music Therapy?
Most people enjoy listening to their favourite melodies and harmonies, but for some, music is the essence of their life.
In the '70, the Abba used to sing:
From scientific research we now know that listening to music, it's not just a pleasant recreation, but it really affects our mind, body and emotions; in fact we can consider it as one of the most powerful tools, that is able to immediately change the chemistry in our brain, even if we listen to a short musical piece.
Music can be used as therapy and listening to good uplifting sounds can improve not only your mood, but also your health.
Music therapy can help most listeners to feel more energised, it can also improve bad mood and even assist the body back to a physical and psychological healthy state.
If you listen to cheerful tunes, when you are sad or are feeling down, this will most certainly provide positive influence. If you are a stressed person, relaxing melodies can help you to wind down.
The reason why this happens, is because music has an incredible effects on the brain.
Songs can trigger emotions and memories, just a few notes can bring us back on time to a certain event.
What Are the Benefits?
Music therapy has several benefits, for instance a few of them are:
- Reducing stress: Soothing melodies have a real calming effect and can help you to relax your muscles and assist in reducing your breathing rate, your stress level will be instantly reduced.
- Makes you happy: The production of serotonin, the happy hormone, increases when you listen to songs that you enjoy, hence improving the mood, helping memory and learning abilities.
- Alter your brain waves: It can change the brain waves and therefore elevate your mood even after you stop listening to it.
- Motivates you: Whatever the reason you need to be motivated, listening to music can help you with that too. For instance, if you need motivation for exercising, you should know that there is an association between fast-paced music and effective working out. One reason is that while listening to music your brain does not concentrate on how much your muscles hurt, another reason is that by synchronising the movements to the rhythm, it makes the exercise easier.
Obviously each person is unique and responds in a different way to treatments, it works for some, but not for all. Saying that it has been noted that this type of therapy has worked well to improve some pathologies and disorders, when used it in conjunction with the standard treatments and the result was in fact superior than if the patients only had the standard care.
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Music therapy can help to improve various diseases and disorders including:
Schizophrenia: Patients who are offered a sufficient number of music therapy sessions, can experienced a reduction of anxiety and an augmentation of relaxation.
Amnesia: Playing and listening to music can alleviate some forms of amnesia as the rhyming of words can help to organise and remember information.
Dementia and Alzheimer: These are the disorders that get most treated with this type of therapy. Improvement has been seen within the skills of interaction, social behaviour, conversation, reduction of restlessness.
Parkinson: People with this disease struggle to initiate an automatic movement, but when they focus on the rhythm of a music piece, this can help to stimulate their own automatic rhythm.
Depression: Music helps to diminish the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, therefore improving mood and cognitive functioning.
Tourette's syndrome: People that suffers with this syndrome are often able to reduce or in some case even eliminate, those tics that cause them uncontrolled verbal and physical outburst. This is done by keeping their brain occupied and concentrate with music either by listening or performing it.
Is there such a thing like bad music?
One important thing to remember is that although some music affects us positively, songs with irregular beats or that encourages violence or contain explicit lyrics are very destructive and have a negative impact on our minds and thoughts, which can generate aggressive behaviour long after we have listened to the song.