Is Music Therapy Effective?

Is music therapy effective in the treatment of medical, physical, and emotional illness?

Scientific research, especially in northeastern Ohio, has indicated that music therapy can promote the healing spirit of an individual, can improve the quality of life of a patient, can induce hope and faith in overcoming illness. In these respects, music therapy plays its role in modern medicine. Indeed, healing music plays a pivotal role in a wide array of illnesses and disorders.

Pop singer Billy Joel once said: “Music in itself is healing.” But music therapy is not just about listening to music to feel good, nor is it just about music appreciation.

Music therapy is not a new concept using the healing spirit of music for therapeutic purposes. The ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Jews had successfully utilized the healing power of music in their cultures to promote health and wellness. In the 18th century, music therapy became a science for treating physical and psychological illness in the Western world.

So, what exactly is music therapy if it is not music appreciation or music relaxation?

Music therapy is planned interaction and intervention with specific goals based on the patient’s specific needs, strengths and weaknesses. Healing music is used in conjunction with physicians, physical occupational and speech therapists, nurses, and educators to achieve the desired healing effects of music. Essentially, music therapy is utilization of the healing spirit of music by trained medical professionals to motivate or change feelings and behavior patterns that may have substantial long-term health benefits for the patient.

The ultimate goal of music therapy is recovery and recuperation from an illness or disorder. Music healing is especially advantageous in this day and age, when many people are suffering from emotional and mental problems. Healing music can help one manage stress more efficiently and effectively in that it can facilitate one to express pent-up feelings of anger and resentment, which have adverse psychological effects on mental health and wellness. Music therapy is often used to enhance the impaired memory of patients as a result of neurological disorder. Healing music is also effective in improving communication skills of individuals who are socially withdrawn or who have personality problems they are incapable to deal with. Music therapy, through its healing spirit, can teach social skills. Physiologically, the healing power of music not only facilitates physical rehabilitation for stroke patients, but also alleviates physical pain.

It must be remembered that healing is more than just about the physical; the emotional and spiritual aspects should also be taken into consideration. Music therapy benefits the mind and the spirit. If it can foster hope and faith in overcoming a physical or emotional impediment, music therapy has served its function in modern medicine.

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