There are so many places we can look for help with our everyday issues. There are Doctor’s, Psychologists, medications, health remedies, herbs, meditation and music. That’s right music! Music is something that we all have very easy access to. And to be honest, it’s fairly inexpensive to be exposed to. Anyone with a radio can have access to many various types of music. It also is safe to say that music can be found in all cultures, and exists worldwide!
Music therapy happens to have its own sector in health care. It sounds a little out of the box to use music as therapy. But music therapists have been using this form of therapy for a long time, and they have actually yielded some amazing results! Music therapy existed in its common current form in the U.S. since around 1944. This is when the first undergraduate degree program in the world was founded at Michigan State University. The first graduate degree program for music therapy was founded at the University of Kansas. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) was founded in 1998 as a merger between the National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT, founded in 1950) and the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT, founded in 1971).
Music therapy uses; singing, songwriting, listening to music, discussing music, and moving to music for therapy. Music can be used to bring a more positive state of mind. This helps decrease depression and anxiety. Music has also helped to lower blood pressure, and even boost immunity. Many people are using music therapy as a tool to help the body stay (or become) healthy.
Music has an effect on brainwaves and changes in other body functions. Breathing and heart rate can also be altered by changes music can bring. Just imagine listening to smooth jazz while closing your eyes and relaxing. If in the middle of that song heavy metal starts to blast, research and common sense tells us that our heart rate would increase and our relaxed state would alter big time.
Music therapy has been used to help cancer patients and children with ADD. Hospitals are using it for pain, depression, coping mechanism, promote movement, calm patients, ease muscle tension, etc.
Research shows that brainwaves are stimulated by the beat in music. Faster beats makes the brain more alert, and slower beats (tempo) promote a calm (meditative) state. Studies show that music therapy can increase the spiritual well-being of an individual.
Participants were placed in groups and responded to surveys on days that they received music therapy compared to days they did not receive music therapy. The results concluded that patients reported having significant improvements to their grief symptoms or behavioral problems after experiencing music therapy. Researchers have also concluded that music therapy can help patients who suffer from acute and chronic pain.
Typically music therapy uses more calming music that promotes relaxation. This is what can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress. If perhaps you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above (keep in mind not all ailments/symptoms have been listed in this article) you might want to try music therapy.
Now, music therapy does not have to mean you, go and look up a music therapist. A lot of people utilize music therapy on their own. You can take dance classes like; salsa, tango, ballroom, fox trot, hip hop, and even pole dancing. All of these are healthy outlets for stress and very good for your health as well. There are lots more types of dance that you can take. Also, there are classes given on how to write music, or even learn how to sing. If that is not your forte, then you can always find a neighborhood bar that has karaoke. A good example would be: a lot of people are able to remember a song that helped them get over a lover, or maybe fall in love, or even get over a bad time in life. Once, music is involved and you are using it therapeutically (even if it doesn’t seem therapeutic, it is) then you are on your way to a better well-being!