“Music is the universal language … it brings people closer together” – Ella Fitzgerald
The quote above from the famous American jazz singer is indeed true. No matter what race you came from or what language you speak, people will still be able to unite and connect with each other through music. Music can affect your mood --- it can make you feel happy, sad, or relaxed. With this, music therapy was born.
The use of music therapy can be traced back in the post-World War II era when musicians visited Veterans hospitals all over the country to play music for many veterans who suffered trauma from the war. Today, music therapists are more trained in incorporating different elements of music to a wide range of clinical skills.
According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, listening to music allows the brain to release dopamine, the hormone that plays a role on our mood. During the music therapy, you may be asked to listen to a music that represents your emotions or mood. Supposing if you are angry or confused, you might be asked to play fast music in order to release what you are feeling.
Apart from that, your music therapist will also teach you on how to use music depending on how you needed it. If you are stressed at work or with troubled thoughts, then your music therapist might introduce you to slow and soothing music. Many studies have shown the effect of volume and tempo in the human heart rate and blood pressure. Slow and soothing music will make you feel calm and relaxed.
What are the health benefits of music therapy?
You don’t need to be musically inclined to benefit from music therapy. Music therapy can be customized according to the person’s needs. Whether a person has development or learning disabilities, or needs stress management, music therapy can effectively assist them. In fact, music is widely used in preschool settings to help the children feel at ease as well as help promote cognitive and motor skills.
Other health benefits of music therapy includes:
1. Helps manage depression
A research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2015 cited the health benefits of music to individuals with depression especially when combined with other prescribed medical intervention. It can minimize obsessive thoughts and anxiety in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
2. Treats insomnia
Remember how your mom sang you a lullaby everytime she puts you to sleep? That, my friend, is a solid evidence that music can help treat insomnia. Sleep disorders like insomnia is a symptom of depression. Research has shown that music therapy helps make your feel relaxed and create a “pre-sleep” state; thus, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
3. Pain management
Apart from relaxation, music is also believed to help the body release the hormone endorphins, therefore, relieving stress and pain. The journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine stated that music can be very effective in relieving pain from post-operative surgeries especially when paired with hospital care. Music lowers the anxiety level, heart rate, blood pressure, and pain level; making it a very effective therapy for individuals with chronic pain.