Did you know that playing or listening to music helps to treat various mental health issues? Research by the Harvard Medical School indicates that music therapy can relieve symptoms of dementia, cancer therapy effects, chronic pain, and anxiety. There are many ways music impacts our emotions positively.
For one, it can cause direct biological changes like reducing the level of cortisol (the stress-regulating hormone). Soothing music can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Studies suggest that prosocial lyrics bring positive thinking, a helping behavior, and empathy. No wonder messages such as “You are a winner” reach a more significant population than psychotherapists do.
Music as a Connecting Experience
The late Pete Seeger was renowned for his folk songs, where he would sing along to encourage community building. He insisted that the idea behind the music is to bring people together, something that still happens today. Such social connections can greatly improve the health of people who are mentally ill or feeling lonely. That means any form of music has significant effects on cognitive wellbeing. Peter Seeger became a spiritual godfather of music therapy as a form of healing mental health. This path should be embraced by the medical practitioners to continue the good work of Seeger.
Music Therapy and Pain Relief
Music therapy has been shown to improve the quality of life in various ways. Patients undergoing painful procedures like knee surgery, cardiac angiography, and colonoscopies can listen to music before they are sedated. By listening to music, their anxiety reduces hence there is less need for sedatives. Patients in the waiting room are encouraged to listen to music to ease discomforts. Consequently, they don’t need as much opioid for pain relief.
Speech and Music
There is also a close connection between speech and music. Those who are recovering from traumatic brain injuries and strokes do better when music is playing in the background. The left side of the brain is responsible for speech, and singing ability starts from the right side. The injury can be worked around to the left side by singing the first thoughts that come to mind. Then the patient can gradually drop the melody. This technique has been used by famous people like Gabby Giffords, the former U.S. Representative whose brain was destroyed by gunshots, rendering her speech futile.
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Music is one of the tools people use to stick to their routines. It has a way of improving the emotional, cognitive, and psychological connections. Such a form of therapy plays a significant role in rehabilitation programs. It assists in the physical coordination of muscles as well as communication.