6 Potential Health Benefits of Music Therapy

 Each of us has a unique relationship with music. Hearing a forgotten song on the radio can bring back memories
from years or decades ago. Maybe jazzy riffs will spark creativity in the kitchen and energetic beats will
inspire you to go jogging in the morning. No matter what style or genre you're into, there's no doubt that music can be
powerful. But music therapy is different than just listening
to music.The American Music Therapy Association defines it as "the evidence-based, clinical use of musical interventions to achieve
individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by an accredited physician
who has completed an accredited
music therapy program." In
other words, music therapy addresses
a person's individual
mental or physical health goals
in a clinical setting and is delivered by a board-certified professional music therapist, says Mia Krings, director of clinical education
and music therapist at Greater
Chicago Music Therapy. All of these factors create a "beautiful
therapeutic relationship with clients"
that amplifies the benefits of music, says Krings. "Bonding with the client is critical to the
success of music therapy." Techniques used in
music therapy include listening to music to evoke emotion, creating
music individually or in groups,
singing, improvising, and more .There are also a number of studies describing
the potential benefits of music therapy in relation to health and illness. Here's a
look at six of the high quality scientific evidence behind it:

1.Can support dementia care "The
emotional connection to music is tremendous,
especially for people with dementia," says Krings. She explains that music therapy, as part of
dementia care, can help you connect and socialize meaningfully
with your peers, reduce depression and anxiety that are common in people
with dementia, and alleviate
some of the symptoms of disease progression.
In a meta-analysis of eight studies, music therapy—particularly the
music listening and singing interventions—improved short-term
quality of life in people with
dementia and reduced long-term symptoms of depression. Listening to music that includes sounds, rhythms
and words activates large parts of the brain and causes changes in neuroplasticity, the authors explain. (Britannica says neuroplasticity
is how neurons and neural
networks in the brain can make
new connections.) Also, listening to your favorite music can trigger positive emotions that improve
your mood and reduce stress.

2. May Help Relieve
Depression and Anxiety Think about how a
song can change your feelings. Music therapy can complement a mental health plan, as can other forms of therapy.In this case, "we use
music to remind us who we are and to find our values," says Kristen Stewart, associate director of
the John Paul II Department of Music Therapy. Louis Armstrong at
Mount Sinai, New York. In a meta-analysis of 55 randomized controlled trials,
music  significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared to
controls. A variety of music
therapy methods and tools are
available, and the study identified two that had the greatest impact on symptom relief: recreational music therapy (e.g., using pictures while examining their thoughts and feelings). , Additionally, other
research—in this case, a
meta-analysis of 32 studies and a
total of 1,924 participants—has
shown that music therapy reduces post-session anxiety in people of all ages, although the
benefits may not be sustainable. The researchers explain that music can temporarily distract from worry, helping to replace difficult
thought patterns with pleasant concepts
and creating therapeutic
connections between the provider and the person.

3. It Can Relieve Stress Think about how you
feel when you hear your favorite
song. Happy?In a room? Something
lighter? Music alone (in addition to music
therapy) can make a huge
difference in stress levels. According to a recent study, regularly
listening to "upbeat"
music during the COVID-19 pandemic has
been linked to
maintaining better mood, particularly
among people who reported higher levels
of stress during this time. In short, people can use music to regulate their
emotions and perhaps put
themselves in a desired state (eg.calm, relaxed or motivated).

According to a meta-analysis of
47 studies, attending a more formal music therapy session had a “moderate to high impact on stress-related outcomes” compared to the control group. A
music therapist can assess a person's needs and then tailor a musical
intervention specifically to that
person's needs at that particular moment. It
can be even more effective at reducing stress than just listening to music,
the authors note. This doesn't call into question the results above, but suggests that
you can use music in different
ways to manage stress.

4 According to the Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological condition that
affects movement and coordination.
According to a systematic review, music therapy can be used as an adjunctive therapy for Parkinson's disease with many
potential benefits, including improvements
in motor skills, communication, swallowing
and breathing, and improved quality of life and health. When it comes to voice, breathing and swallowing skills, group singing is the tool in music therapy that can
improve these functions. In
addition, music can help people with Parkinson's to perform
difficult tasks, including rehabilitation and strengthening exercises. "Music can help improve mental toughness
by providing motivation that
helps people forget the discomfort of exercise,"
says Krings.According to the Parkinson Foundation, exercise is important for mobility, flexibility and balance
in Parkinson's disease.

5. It Can Help Cancer Patients Cope With Treatment
Being diagnosed with
cancer and then treated can be extremely difficult—mentally and physically.
Music therapy can partially alleviate this
burden. According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of 30 studies in adult cancer patients, music therapy helped reduce
anxiety, depression, and the amount of pain medication needed during active treatment compared to controls; In people
in palliative care, music therapy improved quality of life, mental well-being, pain, and
stress.When used therapeutically, music can
help manage the stress of illness, stabilize mood, and relieve some symptoms. Music can also be spiritual support, comfort in
times of uncertainty, the authors
observe. In addition, not only adults with cancer can benefit, but also children. Another review found that music therapy can help reduce stress in
younger patients when they are undergoing tests and procedures that may seem strange or frightening. The authors note that music therapy not only reduces anxiety and stress, but can also improve heart function, oxygen levels, and blood pressure.

6. Can Reduce End-of-Life Stress Music therapy can be used in a variety of ways for
people in palliative care who are experiencing the end of their lives. "This
can be a happy, active time making music with the patient and family,
or a time of grief where music provides support and acts as a coping mechanism," says Krings. In a
therapeutic setting, physicians often adjust music to suit
the patient's mood and then modify
the music to stimulate mood swings
and improve well-being. For example, a music therapist can tailor a tune to a patient's
restlessness or irritability by
playing exciting or angry music, Krings
explains.“Then during the session we bring the music into
a soothing and relaxing space. It's interesting how music can persuade people to reduce anxiety in a
non-pharmacological way," he says, which promotes relaxation and a calm
state of mind in terminally ill patients
more effectively than
spoken cues.