June 17, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team
In This Article
When words fail and emotions run deep, there exists a universal language capable of transcending barriers and healing wounds: Music.
Music touches the soul and sparks calming and healing waves that move the young and the old, the healthy and the ailing. This extraordinary healing power is none other than music therapy. There is hardly any culture in the world which does not recognize the healing power of music.
The earliest formal application of music therapy in the West is generally regarded as occurring in the years following World Wars I and II when musicians would visit hospitals, mainly in Britain, and perform for troops experiencing the mental and physical trauma of combat.
A section of the ancient Indian medical system — Ayurveda describes how music can treat a range of physical and mental illnesses. Raga chikitsa or raga vidya are the terms used to describe this specific application method. Many Indian classical musicians and academics have devoted their lives to studying and using this type of music therapy.
The effectiveness of music therapy can be seen in its impact on the physical and emotional faculties as well as its capacity to uplift and console. According to scientific studies, music therapy can help with anxiety and stress reduction, pain relief, and cognitive performance. In fact, Music therapy is now considered part of the treatment by healthcare providers and commissioners when making decisions about the sort of care for young people that they wish to support.
Despite its complexity, the human brain has its own unique harmony when it comes to responding to music.
As we celebrate World Music Day which coincides with World Yoga Day on June 21st, we look at what music therapy is and how it is an effective mode of treatment not only for mental health and neurological diseases but also for diseases like cancer.
What is Music therapy?
Music therapy is the clinical application of music to reach certain objectives including stress reduction, mood improvement, and increased self-expression. It is a well-known, evidence-based therapy in the medical field. Experiences with music therapy may involve listening, singing, playing an instrument, or writing music. It is not necessary to have musical aptitudes or skills to participate.
Music therapy may help one psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually, cognitively, and socially. A short list of benefits includes:
§ Lowering blood pressure.
§ Improving memory.
§ Enhanced communication and social skills through experiencing music with others.
§ Self-reflection. Observing your thoughts and emotions.
§ Reducing muscle tension.
§ Self-regulation. Developing healthy coping skills to manage your thoughts and emotions.
§ Increasing motivation.
§ Managing pain.
§ Increasing joy.
Music therapy reduces depression in children, adolescents
Music therapy has often been used with children and young people with mental health needs and has been very effective. 251 children and young people aged 8 to 16, who received music therapy showed significantly higher self-esteem and less depression than those who received treatment without music therapy, according to research from Bournemouth University and Queen’s University Belfast.
The first time when the effectiveness of Music therapy was assessed by a definitive randomized controlled trial in a clinical setting, the findings were dramatic. Ciara Reilly, Chief Executive of Every Day Harmony the music therapy charity that was a partner in the research said, “The findings are dramatic and underscore the need for music therapy to be made available as a mainstream treatment option. For a long time, we have relied on anecdotal evidence and small-scale research findings about how well music therapy works. Now we have robust clinical evidence to show its beneficial effects.”