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The Power of Music Therapy

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Ever wonder why a song may bring tears to your eyes? Or how music allows you to recall a specific memory of your past? Well others have thought of the same questions and actually have been able to harness the power of music and direct it toward healthcare. This practice is known today as Music Therapy.

Music Therapy is the prescribed use of music and music related techniques to assist and motivate a person towards specific, nonmusical goals. Music therapists use their training to effect changes in the cognitive, physical, communication, social, and emotional skills. This type of therapy utilizes music and music related activities to modify ineffective learning patterns, help to promote emotional, mental, social and physical growth and to develop non-musical goals. Music Therapy works as a creative, means of utilizing the popularity of music to aid people of all ages and abilities. It is considered an established health care profession that uses music to address physical, psychological, cognitive and social behavioral patterns. Music Therapy can positively affect both children and adults. Music Therapy can make the difference between isolation and interaction and has been proven in situations such as: depression, anger, pain, autism, stress, grief, loss, time management, motivation, growth, change, procrastination and improving communication as well as areas of medicine. Few can doubt music’s ability to influence our behavior. We turn to music to express our feelings. Music … “objectifies the sentience and desire, self consciousness and world-consciousness, emotions and moods…” (Langer 90). We sing lullabies to put our babies to sleep, and “Amazing Grace” to express our loss over a loved one. Favorite ballads express our love toward one another, while rap music often expresses built up anger.

Music Therapy offers proven benefits to its patients. It is well tolerated, inexpensive, easy, to manage and free of side effects. It enhances the effectiveness of both primary medical treatment and rehabilitation therapy, treating pain, anxiety and other illnesses. Every day it is applied in many health setting including operating and delivery rooms, along with private practice. “The simplest way of listening to music it to listen in the sensuous plane. It is the plane on which we hear music without thinking, without considering it in any way. One turns on the radio while doing something else and absent-mindedly bathes in the sound. A kind of brainless but attractive state of mind is engendered by the mere sound appeal of the music” (Copland 1), which explains why Music Therapy is such an easy and tolerated method by both healthcare professionals as well as their patients. Many professionals have acknowledged this information such as, “Members of the Research Group in Pediatric Anesthesiology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Paris and doctors in many American hospitals have used carefully selected types of music to reduce their patient’s dependency on tranquillizers” (Leymarie 218). After all, musical eurhythmics enables the patient to be at peace with both him/herself as well as with the rest of the world (Leymarie 220), this practice of coordinating bodily movement as an aid to musical development.

Although there is not yet a well-documented theory to explain how music therapy works, research shows that it reduces blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and body temperature. It benefits moods and seems able to improve immune and hormone function. In the March 2005 issue of the journal Medical Herald, Joanne Loewy writes of her experience at Beth Israel Hospital: “Rhythm is the first area that helps us understand the logic of medical Music therapy, because the heartbeat is the first thing that a doctor looks at to asses the physical parameters of the body” (Lauer 2). Although, this is merely a step to uncovering the mystery of Music Therapy, there is no doubt it is a step in the right direction.

Music promotes healing and a general sense of well-being, easing the physical and emotion pain that accompanies

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