Music, and sound in general, has been used by humans for many ages to induce changes in emotional and mental states. From mantras and chants to soothing tunes, the power of sound has a definitive effect on the human body. Modern research has begun to accept and support the practice of music therapy to help in the treatment of a variety of conditions. Music promotes healing by affecting the mind and thus the body. Read on to learn about the amazing healing powers of music.
Music and Stress Relief
An amazing property of music is its soothing and calming effects. They say that, “music hath charms to soothe the savage beast,” but it’s true—listening to music can help to lower stress levels. Experts have done research on this subject, and found that music acts as a distraction from stress, promotes relaxation, and can even lower stress hormone levels by slowing down the heart rate and pulse. Whether you are listening to classical music while you work, singing at the top of your lungs in the shower, or have the radio on while you work on a project, music can help to keep your stress levels lower than usual.
Music for Pain Relief
One of the most common uses of music therapy is for pain management. The American Cancer Society promotes the use of music therapy in cancer patients for controlling pain, anxiety and nausea that are often side effects of both cancer and common cancer treatments. Effective music therapy is a very individual treatment. Different patients respond to different types of music, so it is often a process of finding the right type of music for a given patient. The music then relaxes the body, creating a variety of psychosomatic effects.
Music for Social Interaction
People in pain, in the hospital or suffering from serious disease often become isolated in a number of ways. They are likely unable to do many of the social activities they normally enjoy. Music can create a social avenue for these patients, especially children, by allowing them to play or listen in groups. Positive social interaction has a variety of healing benefits by improving mood and taking the patient’s mind off of the pain or illness.
Music therapy is often an essential element of effective addiction recovery programs. The music helps recovery patients in a number of unique ways. It serves as a mood enhancer and distraction from the symptoms of withdrawal. Strong and varying emotions often accompany the recovery process, and music helps to stabilize these emotions and purge destructive emotions. Music can also help patients enter a meditative state, which is very beneficial for keeping in control during the recovery process.
Music for Muscular and Neurological Diseases
Another common use for music therapy is in the treatment of degenerative muscular or neurological diseases. A PBS news broadcast showcased how music has helped patients with brain trauma, muscular dystrophy and similar diseases. Since the performance of music requires fairly precise bodily control, it provides a fun and effective way for patients to exercise their bodily control. Also, since music can easily be paired with dance, it promotes movement in the patients and improves mood, making treatment therapy something enjoyable. More complex music, such as classical music, also serves to stimulate the brain for help with neurological conditions and brain damage.
With music therapy becoming a much more widely accepted practice, more patients are likely to be able to include music as part of their treatment program. A professional music therapist can provide the best treatment program for a patient wishing to explore this effective alternative treatment option.
Author Bio: This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for health, women’s interests, and parenting issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got her advice about music therapy and addiction from the professionals at Willow Tree Recovery, an addiction rehab center in Utah.