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Music Therapy 101

Last updated on February 22, 2020

Music has been used as a means of creative therapy for centuries. Whether people intended for it to be therapeutic or not, music has shaped our culture, mood, and overall worldview.

While music is enjoyable to listen and groove to, it definitely touches the soul. In fact, many people have experienced total mood shifts from listening to their favorite songs.

When music is used for therapeutic purposes, good things happen. Let’s consider a few ways music can uplift us and how you can incorporate music into your wellness routine.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy, when used in a clinical setting, is used to help patients reach their individual goals. By addressing physical, psychological, or cognitive challenges through music, the patient is able to clearly identify their behavior.

If you’re looking for a qualified music therapist, it’s best to look for someone who is Board Certified in Music Therapy. Since they’re qualified in this sector specifically, this makes them an ideal choice as opposed to a traditional therapist.

Now that we know a bit about what music therapy is, let’s consider why music as a means of therapy is effective and unique.

Helps Treat Medical Conditions

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “music therapy interventions can focus on pain management for physical rehabilitation, cardiac conditions, medical and surgical procedures, obstetrics, oncology treatment, and burn debridement.”

Helps In Patient Care

The American Music Therapy Association reports music therapy helpful in:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Alleviating pain
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Improved respiration
  • Lower heart rate and boosts in cardiac output
  • Relaxes muscle tension

Music is Empowering

When you’re feeling uneasy or lacking confidence, throwing on your favorite playlist can make you feel like a total rockstar. There’s something about the way instruments and melodies intertwine together to connect with our senses. It’s chilling.

Whether it’s a powerful voice or an unstoppable drum solo, music has a way of making us feel otherworldly. That’s why so many athletes power-up with their favorite jams right before a big game.

Music Therapy For Pain Management

According to Professor Suzanne Hanser, EdD, MT-BC, Berklee College of Music, this model of therapy is based on cognitive behavioral model of therapy (CBT) that’s basis is reconditioning the patient to replace dysfunctional feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

In regards to music therapy, music is to create conditioned responses to elicit relaxation and overcome tension and worry.

In the beginning, patients listen to music along with another deep relaxation practice, but over time they become conditioned so that music alone cues the response.
The end goal of the music therapy protocol for pain is to divert attention away from either anxiety or pain and acts as not only a distraction but also provides comfort. It also helps improve mood, relaxes the sufferer and promotes positive thoughts.

Music is Connective and Inclusive Culturally

When you’re going through a rough time, you may feel like nobody around you understands what you’re going through. It can be extremely lonely.

However, when you hear a certain song, those lyrics just make you feel inclusive. They resonate with you; in the best way possible. This creates a connection between you and the artist. You no longer feel alone.

Music also connects individuals to each other. Many of us have made lifetime friends at concerts simply because you all feel the same way about a popular band.

Music has a way of connecting people to each other when they need it the most. Companionship is one of the highest forms of support and happiness.

Music is Relaxing and Makes You Feel Comforted

When you’re nervous about a big test or a major life event, popping on some relaxing melodies instantly calms you down. It gives your mind something soothing to focus on instead of the problem you’re facing.

That’s why many infants listen to lullabies as they go to sleep. They’re likely overwhelmed by this big, unfamiliar world. Listening to something soothing gives them comfort in a world of chaos.

Incorporate Music Into Your Daily Routine

You can make music a part of your wellness routine by simply listening to it. Create different playlists that resonate with your different moods.

Create a love playlist, one for the gym, and one of those not-so-happy times. This will give you the support you need without having to rely on others. You’ll begin to feel less alone and more in tune with your positive emotions.

The Take-Aways and Overall Summary

Music is a wonderful form of therapy that can be incorporated virtually everywhere. With the advancement of technology, you can listen to music as you’re walking down the street, studying, or working.

Try different genres so you can expand your horizon. This will give you a greater insight into the wonderful therapeutic benefits of music.

Music Therapy Infographics and Charts

Benefits of Music Therapy

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