Monday, June 29, 2009

Understanding Music Therapy

What is Music Therapy

by Lake Dell
There is no question that music has this sort of power over our minds. Shakespeare was quoted as saying, If music be the food of love, play on. But, it seems that it is also the food of our health.
There are many trained professionals that use music in a therapeutic sense; this is Music Therapy. This idea that music can help in the healing process is dated back to Plato’s days.
Today, the use of music for therapy began when music was found to help war veterans cope with physical and emotional trauma.
Soon enough, music therapy, backed by statistics and scientific testing, became well known for it’s healing abilities. In 1944, The State of Michigan created a program for music therapy.
Music therapy patients are first tested to see how they respond to music through emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning and cognitive skills. Once diagnosed, the patient is put in a program where a trained music therapist designs music sessions.
The music sessions are created based on the patients’ needs and responses to songs, lyrics, imagery, and performances.
Music therapy has been known to help patients in all age groups. Children with certain developmental and learning disabilities benefit from music therapy as much as the senior citizens who suffer from Alzheimer and the likes can benefit as well.
You can usually find a music therapy professional in many different places such as rehab facilities and correctional facilities. Even some schools employ these professionals.
There is a myth in the industry that a patient can only benefit from music therapy with they have some kind of musical ability. But it has been proven that anybody can be aided by music therapy.
It is important for the professionals to know the background and history of a patient to fully assess what music will and will not help.
Even healthy people can make use of the healing powers of music. Listening to or making music, playing or drumming can greatly reduce stress and improve productivity. Research shows that music is a vital support for physical exercise.
In hospitals, music therapy is used to alleviate pain and is often used in conjunction with anesthesia or pain medication. A question that is often raised is why use music if anesthesia does the same thing? Music helps because it dissolves emotional barriers and elevates the patients mood.
Depression can be fought using music therapy as the right kind of music relaxes and calms patients. It is even known to fully sedate some people.

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