From elevating our mood and inspiring creativity to motivating us to power through a workout, we’ve all experienced the powerful influence that music has in our lives. The impact that music has on the mind and body are so significant that it has been integrated into a treatment known as music therapy.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy goes beyond simply listening to a calming song to ease your stress or playing a tune that brings you pleasure. In fact, this unique type of therapy involves a customized treatment plan that is administered by a licensed music therapist. The therapist provides treatment based on the emotional, physical, social, and cognitive needs of each client. This treatment may take the form of listening, singing, moving, or even creating music.
Origins of music therapy
Music therapy can be traced back hundreds of years to Pythagoras, an ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician. By prescribing specific musical modes and scales, Pythagoras was able to treat a variety of physical and psychological conditions. Many years before Pythagoras, however, the bible tells how King David cured Saul’s melancholy through music in I Samuel, 16:23. Additionally, Dr. David M. Greenberg notes that the use of music as therapy likely goes back even further than that.1
In the modern era, music therapy began to take root in the 18th century, but didn’t emerge as a profession until the 20th century. After World War I and World War II, musicians played for hospitalized veterans to soothe their trauma.2 As people began to realize that music was a viable treatment for physical and mental ailments, scientific studies and research led to the creation of modern music therapy.
Types of music therapy
Music therapy draws from many fields of study, including psychology, sociology, musicology, and neurology. As such, several types of music therapy are used in practice. The type of therapy used will depend on the therapist as well as the client’s needs. A few of the most widely practiced types of music therapy include:
- Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) – In this type of therapy, images are used as a starting point along with selected sequences of classical music to discuss the client’s problems.
- Nordoff-Robbins Method – Especially useful for children with autism and learning delays, this method focuses on music creation with the help of a therapist.
- Orff-Schulwerk Method – Also particularly beneficial to children with learning disabilities, this approach utilizes music as a means to improve the client’s interaction with others.
- Kodaly Method – This method uses musical rhythm, sequence, and movement to assist with learning and healing.
- Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) – Useful in developing motor skills, this method deals with how music affects the brain and behavior.
Benefits of music therapy
Music therapy offers a number of well-researched benefits. One particular study showed that it tends to be an effective treatment for reducing stress and anxiety in critically ill patients, and may also improve their quality of sleep and reduce pain.3
For those with learning disabilities and autism, studies show that music therapy can be a life-saver. One analysis of 9 different studies showed that music intervention has been effective for children and adolescents that are on the spectrum.4
Additionally, music therapy also offers unique benefits for Alzheimer’s patients such as enhanced memory, better focus, and less dependence on drugs.5 It’s also an effective method of rehabilitating individuals with traumatic brain injuries.6
Music therapy isn’t just for those with serious conditions and diseases. It can be extremely helpful for many different types of people regardless of age or medical condition. Key benefits for those with chronic illnesses as well as those who face common health challenges include:
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Supports and improves healing
- Diminishes the physical effects of stress
- Improves communication
- Helps manage pain
- Decreases fatigue and insomnia
Is music therapy right for you?
If you or a loved one suffers from a brain-related disorder such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, PTSD, or depression, music therapy can be especially beneficial. But really, this type of treatment can benefit anyone who is looking to improve their mental and physical health.
Music therapy is backed by sound research and psychology, and will provide greater benefits than simply listening or playing music on your own. So if you’re looking for new, effective ways to improve your health and wellness, reach out to a music therapist today.
Music Therapy balancer Virtual Item
A digital signature representing Music Therapy is available to scan as a service in the ZYTO Balance, Select, and Elite software. You can add this item to your service library for scanning along with more than 250 other wellness services.
The body’s energetic response to this and other service items scanned can be viewed in the Services Report, if available. If Music Therapy is one of the body’s top 5 most biologically coherent services scanned, it will also be displayed at the end of the Balance Wellness Report.
Additionally, the ZYTO EVOX perception reframing software can support and enhance music therapy in a variety of ways. This technology maps the tones of the voice and utilizes biofeedback to help the individual shift subconscious perceptions that lead to negative behaviors and outcomes. This system can also incorporate music to aid in the perception-shifting process.
1. Greenberg, David M. “The World’s First Music Therapist.” Psychology Today. Psychologytoday.com.
2. “History of Music Therapy.” American Music Therapy Association®. Musictherapy.org.
3. Mofredj, A., S. Alaya, et al. “Music therapy, a review of the potential therapeutic benefits for the critically ill.” Journal of Critical Care 35 (2016): 195-199.
4. Whipple, J. “Music in Intervention for Children and Adolescents with Autism: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Music Therapy 41, no. 2 (2004): 90-106.
5. “Study: Music Therapy Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients.” Arbor Company. Arborcompany.com.
6. Thaut, M.H., J.C. Gardiner, et al. “Neurologic Music Therapy Improves Executive Function and Emotional Adjustment in Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation” in The Neurosciences and Music III: Disorders and Plasticity, Volume 1169 (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).