In previous posts I’ve explained a little bit about what music therapy is, how it works, and who can benefit from services. In this post, I’ll address another question I get almost as often as those— why music therapy and not another kind of therapy?
1.) IT DOES A BODY GOOD.
It’s true. Music has the ability to act on us physiologically like nothing else can. Biofeedback research has demonstrated that our bodies’ natural rhythms (heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing rates) can be changed through music. We can alter our brain wave activity by listening to certain types of music. Research has also shown that music can help alleviate pain, decrease anxiety, and increase a person’s general sense of well-being. Pairing music with other relaxation techniques (like breathwork or meditation/prayer) has been shown to improve blood pressure and increase the “feel good” chemicals in our brains. Exercising to a high energy playlist has also been proven to improve workouts, increase stamina, and extend exercise time– which translates to better body health and fitness. Can you think of any other non-invasive way of literally changing your body systems with little to no negative side effects?
2.) IT’S BASED IN RESEARCH.
Music therapists have been doing scientific research on the benefits of our services for the better part of 70+ years. That means we have solid, evidence-based, scientifically proven methods of using music to solve lots of different problems. Additionally, the research has shown music therapy to be extremely effective in a wide variety of medical, mental health, social, and academic arenas. Specifically for mental health, music therapy has been shown to have a positive effect on depression and anxiety symptoms, increase general feelings of positivity and well-being, and improve social interactions/decrease isolation. Music also provides an effective way to express and explore difficult emotions.
3.) IT’S PART OF ALL OF US.
No matter your cultural heritage, geographic location, intelligence, social status, religion, whatever– we all share music. Aside from being human, it’s probably one of the few things everyone has in common. It’s simply part of our existence. That makes it an easy tool to use to help someone– they don’t have to learn something new in order to benefit. In fact, you don’t even have to know how to play any instruments to participate in music therapy! Music is about sharing, creating, enjoying, expressing, communicating, experiencing.
Music therapy is so much more than these three bullet points, but I hope I’ve been able to give you a better understanding of why music therapy might be the right choice for you. As always, I’m available by e-mail and phone to answer any additional questions! You can also watch my video on this subject here.