"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
The beauty of music has the power to heal mind, body and soul. Music is often considered the medicine of the mind. This universal language of the mankind not only bridges borders made by human beings, but also has a profound effect on human psyche and body. The power of music that can cure the heart and mind is now being used in certain healing therapies as well. This had led to the birth of the term ‘Music Therapy’. The interpersonal process in which music and all its facets are used by the therapists, to help their patients in improving or maintaining their health, is termed Music Therapy.
What Is Music Therapy
Music Therapy is a branch of psychology wherein its mental, physical, emotional, social, aesthetic and spiritual, all the aspects are, individually or combined, to address people’s needs. The needs of the client or the patient can be addressed either through the direct use of music or through the relationships that develop between the client and the therapist. Music therapy can be used with individuals of all ages, to help the body fight various diseases and conditions.
Music therapy is considered as one of the expressive therapies which entails the use of creative arts as a form of therapy. Turco-Persian psychologist and music theorist Al-Farabi discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul, as early as, the 9th century in his treatise "Meanings of the Intellect". In India, music therapist Rajasree Mukherjee has used Indian classical music as an integral part of meditation techniques. The usage of music to heal is gradually gaining momentum and becoming a growing field of health care.
How Music Therapy Works
Brain waves respond to different kinds of music in different ways. Strong beats stimulate the brain waves, while a slow tempo promotes a meditative and soothing state of mind. Music therapy can also counteract the damaging effects of chronic stress by altering the breathing and heart rate. Music helps keep anxiety and depression at bay by bringing more positive state of mind. Listening to music can enormously increase optimism and control pessimistic aspects, like worry, bias and anger. Controlling emotions, lowering blood pressure and restoring the functioning of the liver are some of the benefits that music therapy boasts of.
As music affects the body and mind in many powerful ways, it is being used to help cancer patients and even children with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Music Therapy can also be designed to:
- Promote wellness
- Manage stress and pain
- Ward off depression
- Alleviate pain
- To calm patients
- Enhance memory
- Improve communication
- Promote physical rehabilitation
- Ease muscle tension
In this fast paced and rapidly changing world, the importance of music therapy is also on the increase. Public awareness about this therapy is necessary on a much wider scale, so that people enjoy increased access to quality music therapy services. Some commonly found areas where music therapy is majorly being used include developmental works with individuals with special needs and songwriting and listening in reminiscence/orientation work with the elderly. It is also used for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims by relaxation and brainwave synchronization.