This week, the focus of this blog is music therapy. I’ll tell you about what music therapy is and why it’s helpful, and maybe why some people think it’s not.
Music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” – musictherapy.org
Music therapy can do a lot of things for people, such as help in managing stress, alleviating pain, enhancing memory, accelerating in physical rehabilitation, and a bunch more probably. Some music therapies include movement and dance, and some is done at bedside, even when patients are in surgery. Music therapy can happen in a lot of different forms. Aside from listening to music, sometimes patients play the music, sometimes they write the music, sometimes they discuss the lyrics of the music they’re listening to.
Does it really work?
I think so. Here’s why:
Experts theorize that the brain is programmed to respond to music’s beat and rhythm, so a slow beat can slow down brain waves, while fast beats can stimulate the brain. The experts are only kinda experts though, because they haven’t completely tested out these theories. But! It’s a generally accepted medical truth that reducing stress can help symptoms subside, so, all in all, music helps.
Here are some facts from website articles Benefits of Music Therapy & Therapeutic Music for Patients and Music Therapy for Stroke. Music therapy is used for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the addition of music has been reported to reduce nausea, ease tensions, alleviate pain, manage stress, and a bunch of other things. Music therapy can also help people recovering from a stroke and has the following benefits: increase patient movement, improve muscular control, improve cognition, etc. Music also helps to improve cancer and stroke patients’ moods by helping them relax and become motivated because it takes their mind off the pain of recovery.
Now here’s some science. Music Therapy for Stroke says that a recent scientific study has checked out the effects of music therapy on the overall health and wellbeing of patients and the results have been just tops. They’ve found that music therapy helps to alleviate depression and anxiety in patients, as well as increasing patient and caregiver satisfaction. However, since there isn’t a bunch of research on music therapy, it isn’t covered by most health insurance plans.
The reason why some people aren’t sold on the whole music therapy hippie dippy idea is because while there is research, there isn’t a ton of it. As a scientist, I guess it’s hard to really be behind something until there are volumes and volumes of data to back up a claim. Maybe some science people will read this blog and find out how great music therapy is and they’ll fund other science people to conduct more research on the topic. The possibilities are endless.