BY MICHELLE SMITH
With the month of March coming to an end and April quickly approaching I wanted to share some information about Music Therapy. As your advocate my goal is to shed some light on topics that can help you change outcomes in your life. Dating back to as long as we know it music has been seen as a form of therapy. As stated by the famous quote by the great Bob Marley “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”.
Music therapy is a form of healing that uses music to provide care to individuals, by thinking outside of the box. This type of therapy be can be an addition to medical, physical and pharmaceutical management. Clinical studies can vouch for the health benefits of a music therapy care plan. I am a big fan of music as my ultimate mental wellness therapy. The effects of music on my brain most often changes a negative feeling into a positive feeling. Music therapy is a therapeutic tool that is being recommended widely for a variety of conditions by doctors. Music therapy has officially been cited as the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain and restore mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural and emotional qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication and personal development, as cited by Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT). The Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT) has strict guidelines and standards for professional competence. CAMT utilizes the title of Music Therapist Accredited, MTA, to designate music therapists who have successfully completed the accreditation process.
For most people, music is an important part of their daily life. Some rely on music to get them through that morning drive, while others turn up a favorite song to cook, clean, or workout. Music is often linked to mood. A certain song can make us feel happy, sad, energetic or relaxed. Because music can have such an impact on a person’s mindset and well-being, it should come as no surprise that music therapy has been used for managing numerous medical conditions. Studies have shown that slow classical music has had the greatest impact in reducing blood pressure. For those of you counting sheep at night, due to insomnia, it should be no surprise that music has been sited to help improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Through working with Cancer patients, I have seen the favorable outcomes of music therapy as it relates to pain management, also reducing anxiety and depression associated with cancer treatment. Don’t forget that April is National Daffodil month in support of the fight against cancer
Music therapy has many benefits for children and adults with developmental disabilities. April is National Autism awareness month. The use of music therapy has had great reviews as cited by psychology today. Individuals who have autism spectrum disorders often show a heightened interest and response to music which can help in the teaching of verbal and nonverbal communication skills as well as helping to establish normal developmental processes. Music therapy has also been noted to show great results with adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental disorders. With the use of music therapy people found that it reduced aggressive or agitated behavior, by improving mood, which in turn improved cooperation with completing daily tasks. Music therapy will have a different effect in the same manner as treatments for any medical conditions. But always remember to include music as your day to day stress reliever. Your body will thank you.