Music Therapy: The Science Behind The Healing

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Do you ever find yourself listening to specific songs for specific occasions? Maybe you crank up the classical when it’s time for deep concentration at work. Perhaps you pump a pop-song before walking into a particularly important meeting that requires you to be high energy. Or when it’s time to connect with that special someone, you turn to the universal love language known as Barry White.

The point is, music has the power to create within us certain moods and emotions. It can stir up in us the energy to be fully effective in different situations. It creates unity and continuity between strangers (we’ve all been to those concerts that felt like a religious experience).

Behind these emotional states are scientific reasons for how music affects us the way that it does. That’s why music therapy is often used for guiding people who suffer from anxiety disorders, PTSD, depression, dementia and autism – just to name a few.

Here are five scientific reasons music and music therapy provides healing for patients suffering from varying disorders.

1. Music provides structure and predictability.
Music is both a science and an art. Most music is created within mathematical guidelines that ensure the listener of a particular auditory experience. For patients who are suffering from trauma or anxiety or perhaps live in chaotic domestic environments or have fought in combat, predictability is an essential tool for restructuring their frames of reference and demonstrating that the circumstances that are at the root of their anxiety or trauma are not a universal truth in all circumstances. The structure in music is a pleasant way to connect with the possibility of stability and safety.

2. Music helps us recall memories.
Music is second to scent in its ability to powerfully transport people into past situations. If a patient hears a song that they associate with a beautiful memory, or a safe memory, or a happy memory, it stands as a useful tool to treat those who are suffering from trauma simply through audio association.

3. Music is a mnemonic device that allows us to learn more effectively.
How did you learn your ABC’s? The alphabet song is just one example of how we can more effectively retain important information that might otherwise be difficult (i.e. boring) to recall. In music therapy, this is useful for treating people who might be suffering from developmental disabilities to develop skills that they would otherwise find difficult to recall or retain.

4. Music causes physiological responses that therapists can use to create different states in their patients.
Fast music can increase a heart rate. This is useful for music therapists who are attempting to stimulate someone in a catatonic or non-responsive state. Slow music helps slow the heart rate and calm someone suffering from trauma or anxiety.

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5. Music at its core is a vibration and different vibrations have different healing capabilities.

Studies have been conducted to uncover whether or not low-frequency sounds such as a low rumble have the capability to relieve the pain of people suffering from Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia and depression. This is a particular form of music therapy called vibrocaustic therapy where the musical vibrations are applied directly to the body. Over time, the study found that vibrocaustic therapy lead to the relief of symptoms particularly suffered by Parkinson’s patients.

The possibility that certain vibrations’ frequencies influence the outer cortex and thalamus regions of the brain are also being explored. The outer cortex and thalamus regions contribute to disorientation for those with Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s. If certain vibrational frequencies are found to assist stability and diminish the effects of disorientation, music therapy might prove to have a huge role in the way these diseases are treated into the future.

So as they say, it’s more than a feeling. As science continues to explore the benefits of music therapy, and as it becomes a more accepted modality of wellness, we look forward to growing our business and expanding our services so that everyone who would like to can really rejoice in hearing the music.

If you are an investor who is passionate about the wellness industry, we invite you to register today on our funding portal, Castle Peak Finance, where you can browse all of our documents and join us on this exciting part of our journey!

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References:

Music As Medicine (2013). American Psychological Assocication. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music.aspx

Music Therapy For Health & Wellness (2013). Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/natural-standard/201306/music-therapy-health-and-wellness

What Is Music Therapy (2016). American Music Therapy Association. http://www.musictherapy.org/

Top 12 Brain-Based Reasons Why Music As Therapy Works. (2010). Brain HQ. http://blog.brainhq.com/2010/04/22/top-12-brain-based-reasons-why-music-as-therapy-works/

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Author: Judith Pinkerton

Licensed, board-certified music therapist Judith Pinkerton is the first to receive the music therapy license in the USA and the originator of Music 4 Life's Music Medicine Protocol.

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