Music has a connection to every area of our brain. It can relax us, decrease our anxiety, improve our attention, and also keep us moving. We often connect to different songs or styles of music in different ways. Music can be extremely therapeutic in different ways. Music involves using a person’s connections and responses to music to encourage improvement to a person’s mood and overall well-being. Using music for therapy can range from creating music, moving to music, or simply listening to music. This article explains how music can be a powerful tool to improve mental health and how music can be used as therapy for different mental and physical health conditions.
How can Music be Therapeutic?
The way music affects the brain can be very complex. Every aspect of music from the tempo, pitch, and melody are processed by a different area of the brain. The therapeutic nature of music can be beneficial for people with depression and anxiety, or improve the quality of life for people with physical conditions. Anyone can engage in therapeutic listen to music , and it can be a helpful aid in conjunction with other therapy treatments. There are different methods and approaches to using music as therapy that encourage an active process including creating music with instruments, voice, or analyzing music or a passive approach such as simply listening and enjoying music. In some cases, a combination of approaches may be used.
How Can Music Improve Mental Health?
The American Music Therapy Association states, “ The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is at least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato.” The benefits associated with music are widespread and include several therapeutic effects including:
- Brain waves- Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking while slower tempo inspires a calming meditative state.
- Breathing and heart rate- Alterations in brainwaves inspires changes in other bodily functions such as a slowing of breathing, heart rate, and an activation of the relaxation response.
- State of mind- Music can be used to bring a more positive state of mind helping to keep anxiety and depression and anxiety at bay and prevent the stress response from setting in to the body.
With all the benefits, it is no wonder music in therapy is becoming more popular, anyone can use music whether guided by a therapist or on your own. For some people music takes us out of the present and to a more relaxing time or place in our minds. It may be that “imaginary” or “happy place”, or connection to a memory we had when we felt more at ease and less stressed or anxious. For others, music provides a background that filters out all of the distractions around us and improves our attention.
Using Music to Promote Improvement for Physical Conditions
Music can also be used to promote health for individuals with physical conditions or diagnoses. A musical beat can help individuals with Parkinson disease to walk more efficiently. Stepping forward on the beat in order to help with timing and pacing. A good song can do wonders to help motivate and energize us to complete our home exercise program!
Other Benefits of Music in Therapy
Music can be used to improve other cognitive and behavior functions here are 4 ways to use music to your advantage:
- Try to remember the words of a song to improve your memory
- Using the melody of a song can help us to remember important things (think ABCs!)
- Listening to new or different music can help us with new learning and auditory processing. Focus on the tune or the lyrics of the song. Is it telling a story?
- Did you ever hear a song that put into words everything you couldn’t? What a way to connect to your feelings! This can help express our emotions and communicate better as well!
Take a few minutes to think about how music has touched your life and use a song to help you through your day.
At Niagara Therapy, LLC we incorporate music and beat to help clients with Parkinson’s Disease, Brain Injury, Stroke, Autism, Coordination Disorder, Apraxia, and many other personal challenges. Contact us or call today to find your beat 814-464-0627.