Music as Therapy.
Music as a Therapy
We have always listened to music for passing time, working out, partying, or more importantly lifting up our mood. But have you ever thought that how is music the one-stop solution to so many feelings? Breakup- listen to music and cry, patch up- listen to music and celebrate, periods- listen to music and release pain, scored well- listen to music and party, sick-listen to music and sleep and so many other feelings you can associate music to.
As a matter of fact, there is much more to music than lifting up your mood. We have all come across various therapies in life. But have you heard about Music Therapy? Music is an art that has immense healing powers. It has the power to take you back into time, to that first day in college or the last goodbyes, to a sweet memory with your mother or your first relationship. For this very reason, doctors across the globe are using music as a therapy to heal patients. Patients suffering from depression, anxiety, expecting mothers or even cancer patients. It is also used as a therapy for the insomniacs. After all, what is better than falling asleep peacefully? Or even for patients in pain, music is a powerful way to distract them and put them in a different frame of mind. People suffering from autism can recover the ability to communicate and socialize with music therapy's designed set of activities and connections. The therapy is also implemented with patients in psychiatric facilities.
Music therapy can be particularly influential for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and brain damage due to stroke or traumatic brain injury. Musical experiences, for example, singing songs from a memory allow people to find a vent to their feelings and to be emotionally aware, provisionally permitting those patients to express themselves, gain awareness of their emotions, and make relationships with their loved ones. Drug rehabilitation centers are also known to use it.
Music therapy includes practices such as listening to, reflecting on, and creating music to rally a client’s health and happiness. Plunging people in music empowers them to express better, identify problems in their lives, and eventually find solutions to them. It is the best way to release emotions and find an outlet for them. Music therapy is directed by a board-certified music therapist. You can take the appointment individually or it also happens in groups. This therapy is accompanied by medicines and other treatments for better results.
Music Therapy involves the following things
- Listening to songs
- Playing musical instruments
- Singing along with a group in individually with music
- Or even shaking your feet with the beat of the music
Music Therapy has been dated long back in the history of Greece. Its benefits do not just cure patients of ailments, but it is also used to boost up the morale of people so that they work harder with diligence and sincerity.
Allow me to share my knowledge on how this therapy actually works. An initial assessment first takes place which will tell the therapist the exact needs of the client. One method is creating music which means whining a misty melody from one’s childhood, it can be done as a group song or extemporizing on music instruments like the drums, piano, guitar, etc.
If this method works, the client will start opening up to the therapist and will share his/her experience. The therapist will ask questions to the client, like what does he/she remember after listening to the tune or what do they feel different about it. Both of them can listen to a song together and deliberate the emotions and memories the song prompts. Further, the client might be asked to pen down some lines, which can irradiate a character or struggle in their lives or deliver a liberating release. The therapist could also engross the client in breathing exercises, with or without music, in order to release stress and calm anxiety.
By means of all these exercises, the therapist and client come up with all the psychological, familial, social, cultural, and spiritual factors of the person’s inner world. To undergo music therapy, the client need not have any musical knowledge or talent. There are absolutely no technicalities involved in the process. It is only a means to reflect and communicate.
Some of the therapeutic benefits of Music Therapy are:
Improves breathing and heart rate
Have you observed that your mind starts working according to the beat of the music? for example, while listening to slow soothing songs, your brain goes into a slow and meditative state. Or while listening to fast songs like pop songs, your mind goes into an alert state, and your concentration and thinking power also increases. This happens because music affects your brain waves. And naturally, your other body parts also function accordingly. When you enter a disco, does your heart beat faster? That is exactly how music therapy works. Slower breathing results in slower heart rate and faster breathing results in faster heart rate. Music and music therapy can help offset or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, largely encouraging not only relaxation but health.
Brings a change in state of mind
Music tends to create a vibe around us. It changes our state of mind. A relaxing piece of music calms us down creating a positive vibe. This acts as a perfect medicine for depression and anxiety. Music can also be a partner in loneliness. It brings an optimistic mindset and also enhances creativity. The reason why many painters paint while putting their headphones on.
Music therapy is a reliever not just for mental health, but it is also known to have other benefits on body like reducing blood pressure, easing down muscles, improve immunity, release pain, and many more.
Music can act as a friend not just by going to a therapist, but you can leverage the immense benefits of it on your own self. Do not underestimate the power of putting on a pair of earphones and getting secluded for some ‘me-time’.
Keep listening, keep reading, take care!
By Charu Wahal