People use music in different ways. Some listen to upbeat music to motivate them to exercise, while others find playing an instrument or dancing to a beat as enjoyable experiences. While it is readily available in your daily life, you might not be aware that music also has healing effects on kids and adults alike. In music therapy, music is used to help people improve their overall well-being by reducing their stress levels, managing pain, enhancing sleep and rest, and many other benefits. Even if you have limited experience with music, you can still experience all the following beneficial effects of it.
It Helps Reduce Stress
Listening to classical and instrumental music can help you feel more relaxed because music can reduce the production of your body’s stress hormone called cortisol. A study in the Public Library of Science found that listening to music can impact a person’s stress response. They divided participants into three groups, with each group exposed to a different stimulus. One was made to listen to relaxing music, the second was made to listen to rippling water, and the third received no auditory stimulus at all. Afterwards, all three groups were made to take a psychosocial stress test. The results showed that participants who listened to music showed lower levels of stress hormones after taking the test than members of the other two groups.
It Is Soothing
Meditating with music can give you a calm environment, allowing you to focus on yourself. But adults are not the only ones who can benefit from the calming effect of music. Preterm infants can also get the soothing effect of hearing lullabies and sounds from musical instruments. Researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center’s Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine conducted a study on the effect of music on premature infants staying at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Parents sang to some of the babies, while others were made to listen to an ocean disc, which mimics the sounds inside the womb, or the tones from a gato box, a drum that simulates the dual tones of a heartbeat. All three sounds succeeded in slowing babies’ heart rates, though singing did this most successfully. Listening to singing also kept the babies quietly alert, while the gato box seemed to improve their sucking behavior. Meanwhile, the ocean disk helped enhance their sleep.
It Helps Manage Pain
Music can also be used for acute and chronic pain management for all age groups. Listening to music has helped both kids and adults cope with physical pain. Researchers from the University of Alberta found that young patients who listened to relaxing music while they got an IV inserted felt less pain and showed less distress than those who did not listen to music. Also, the healthcare providers said they had an easier time administering the IV to the patients given music than those who had not been exposed to music.
In adults, music therapy can be included in the long-term plan to manage pain. It is used to help patients focus on positive memories from the time when they didn’t have any painful symptoms. For women in labor, music therapy can assist in the childbirth process by reducing anxiety and managing pain. When combined with standard post-operative hospital care, music can help lower pain levels, heart rate, and blood pressure in people who just underwent surgery.
It Helps Patients Cope with Their Illness
While it’s been established that listening to relaxing music can impact a person’s mood, even just doing activities related to music like singing, playing an instrument, and songwriting can help people diagnosed with diseases like cancer cope with their disease. People with cancer often find dealing with their disease an emotional experience and look for different sources of support to take care of their overall wellness. Music can give them another way to cope with the side effects of their treatment. Music therapy can also support the patients’ emotional well-being once they receive their cancer diagnosis while undergoing treatment, or after remission. In addition, patients in palliative care who participate in music therapy sessions begin to reconnect with the healthy parts of their lives, allowing them to accept their condition.
It Can Support Treatment for Different Conditions
Music can definitely enhance quality of life and promote recovery, which is why many healthcare providers use music to support traditional treatments of certain illnesses. When combined with medication and psychotherapy, music therapy can be effective in treating depression. Music can also be used to reduce obsessive thoughts and ease anxiety for people with obsessive compulsive disorder. This kind of therapy can also be partnered with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to aid in recovery from substance use disorder. Some treatment facilities like the drug rehab Phoenix residents go to use music to modify and reinforce some behaviors in a structured approach. Such a therapeutic process may include listening to music, singing, or dancing.
Everyone has different experiences with music, including its healing qualities. The best thing about music is you can access it anytime and you don’t need to be a professional to enjoy its benefits. You can take lessons to play an instrument, listen to some relaxing tunes, or try out songwriting. Go ahead and experiment with music therapy! You’ll surely find that it will help improve your well-being in life.