Although obviously not intended as an alternative to life-saving medicine, music therapycan be used to help treat people with a variety of health conditions, both mental and physical. For example, those suffering with cancer may find that the use of music therapy helps to reduce anxiety associated with their illness and the treatment they are receiving for it.
Music therapy can also be used to help children with autism communicate and learn social and emotional skills. It is also a useful tool for helping people to communicate with those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But does it actually work? And if so, how?
How Does Music Therapy Work?
Listening to music calms the mind and makes people feel good. According to the experts at Malocasound, music relaxes people, and the use of music therapy is beneficial for those suffering with a variety of issues, particularly those struggling with mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
The benefits of music therapy are many, with those taking part often admit that it helped them to release pent-up emotions. Others say that it reduced feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. The ability to express oneself during a musical therapy session can improve mood and help with the management of stress. Music therapy therefore can have emotional, social psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits for most people.
What Happens During a Music Therapy Session?
During a music therapy session, participants might move or dance to music, sing songs, make their own music with instruments, or listen to music using guided imagery.
Music therapists will typically work closely with participants before the actual session begins. This is to get an idea of what the individual wants to get from the session as well as learning a bit more about any background they might have in music. It is important for the therapist to also get an idea of the person’s music interests and preferences.
Depending on the individual’s musical ability and preferences, the session might involve creating music, which would include writing lyrics and composing music. If the person likes to sing, they might listen to music and sing along. In some sessions, dance moves will be learned, or it might just be that the individual will move freely as they listen to some favorite songs.
How Does Music Therapy Help the Individual?
As already mentioned, music therapy can have a variety of benefits for the individual. As well as improving stress levels and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, this form of therapy also has an impact on the physical. Because it induces feelings of relaxation, it can help to lower the heartrate and respiration, which in turn can help lower blood pressure.
Listening to music can also help to distract those who are suffering with pain, and it is often used as a pain management tool during chemotherapy sessions as well as during labor.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects?
While music therapy is typically a positive experience for most people, it is not right for everyone, particularly in group sessions where it can get a bit loud. Some people might not like loud sounds and in a group setting, this can become extremely uncomfortable or irritable.
Furthermore, while music therapy is often used as a tool for anxiety reduction, it can cause anxiety in some groups, particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease, if the wrong music is used. This is why it is important for the music therapist to work closely with the individual, or in the case of Alzheimer’s patients, with their family members, to get the session right.