Music Therapy research has shown positive effects of music therapy for people with mental and physical health disorders. Music therapy is known to affect a person’s thoughts, feelings and behavior and has been shown to assist with depression and alleviate pain.
Patients who are facing a terminal illness -Music Therapy appear to improve quality of life during their last days. The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is found in some of the writings of Aristotle and Plato (Fickett, 2002). The aim of this paper is to examine whether music therapy helps mentally ill patients improve these negative symptoms and other health-related outcomes.
For some patients that they no longer wish to be controlled by medication, what is another alternative in order to gain quality of life back which they have been longing for?
Music has been known for thousands of years for its beneficial effects. Its healing influences are documented in Aristotle’s, Plato s and Socrates writings. It also dated back since Apollo of the Iliad, “the mythical God of music” who stopped a plague after listening to the Greek hymn. AMT (2014). They all believed that music is a powerful, healing natural tool for a human body.
Gloag (402) “Rhythm and harmony, says Plato, sink into the depths of the soul. Music is said to be anciently related to magic and the supernatural, and its power is still apparent. It directly imitates the passions or states of the soul…when one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion; and if over a long time he habitually listens to music that rouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped to an ignoble form”.
This research conducts analysis about Music therapy, the controversies and the profound benefits it has positively and therapeutically impacted psychologically and physically disabled patients.
Music therapy was founded in the 20th century, after musicians went to play for World War I and World War II veterans at hospitals across the United States. Today, there are 5,000 board-certified music therapists in the United States, according to the American Music Therapy Association. AMT (2014).
In 1944, Dr Underwood, head of the music department at Michigan State, implemented the first curriculum leading to the first bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. Research shows that this is a rapidly growing profession over the last decade. It is performed by a qualified therapist, targeting the overall improvement of physical, physiological, spiritual health and well-being of patients.
Music therapy has become controversial in late years due to physicians relying on medications rather than music. Physicians prefer treatments instead and this is another reason for the increasing health costs in the medical industry. Its therapeutic effects have been understudied and the researches haven’t given any concrete examples. The literatures talk about physical and mental healings from music but no case studies performed, hence no proof that Music Therapy does indeed influence healing.
Alden Buker (62) Opponents claim that “Music is nothing more than a series of tensions that try to find their relaxations.” Working in medicine with newborns, I have heard before that the infant’s world is created by tension and relaxation. Also it directly affects their brain receptors by causing involuntary bodily reactions when hearing music.
Most people use music in terms of relaxation, the stimulations that is causes, it can create good mood most of the time. It can make us associate different situations, take us on a trip to the past and to different places just by closing our eyes and listening to it. From a medical standpoint Medical Therapy has shown changes the way our bodies respond to music. Can increase or decrease blood pressure depending on the patient’s music interest. Heart rhythm speed, and shallower breathing have been documented as positive effects to Music Therapy when properly conducted by a professional Medical Music Therapist. Conducting my research, I came across American Music Therapy Association website and found it quite interesting about who this organization is and its mission.
These fully credentialed music professionals who have completed the approved music therapy program, are found in hospitals interacting with severely mostly mentally ill individuals. These professionals claim that their music decreases levels of anxiety on such patients, increasing verbalization and release of emotions. When schizophrenic patients attend these in-hospital group meeting leaded by a music therapist together with standard care, show tremendous improvements in overall health while promoting communication and expressions. When emotional release occurs between schizophrenic patients, it transforms anger and frustration into more peaceful, calm personalities.
Music therapy is widely researched and known to make an impact on mentally and physically disabled patients. It boosts confidence and self-esteem, which significantly has proven to help in
Beaumont Hospital performed a research on myocardial infarct patients that shows when these cardiac patients underwent invasive procedures and they chose their favorite music to accompany them while sedated (conscious sedation). The outcomes have been positive and less medication (sedation) was used. Music therapy was implemented to accompany patients with their consent at the procedural site. Now, several other local hospitals have implemented to have a music team on board and Physicians have agreed that Music Therapy has helped their patients and it has been very effective in the healing of patients.
Music therapy was made known to me while I was working at Medical University Hospital, Charleston SC. While performing cardiac ultrasound on a very critically ill patient and getting ready to image the patient’s heart I heard a very subtle almost like spa music, seagulls and ocean waves and light piano on the background. It was very soothing, and according to the priest on call that night this music reaches deep in the patient’s soul and that relaxes the body and it has proven to significantly stimulate nerves. Patients have responded better to music than other ways of interventions. On more conscious patients, music provides a calming effect especially on the very anxious ones.
These professionals claim that their music decreases levels of anxiety on such patients, increasing verbalization and release of emotions. When schizophrenic patients attend these in-hospital group meeting leaded by a music therapist together with standard care, show tremendous improvements in overall health while promoting communication and expressions. When emotional release occurs between schizophrenic patients, it transforms anger and frustration into more peaceful, calm personalities.
When these patients meet in-hospital group meetings leaded by a music therapist together with standard care, they show tremendous improvements in overall health while promoting communication and expressions. When emotional release occurs between schizophrenic patients, it transforms anger and frustration into more peaceful, calm personalities. Ramey (2011) suggests group music activities for adults that have many developmental or intellectual disabilities. Group music activities can help adults move forward, set and reach their goals, and raise expectations regarding their ability to achieve empowerment and independence (Ramey, 2011). Further skill-building can be worked into group activities when music therapy is introduced. There is no reason to treat adults like children when working in group therapy; rather it is common for adults to feel more like adults when music therapy is used appropriately in a developmentally appropriate environment, using songs that appeal to the adults in the group setting (Ramey, 2011).
Unkefer & Thaut (2002) conduct extensive research on music therapy, noting that central nervous system functioning seeks out sensory input. When moderate increases in arousal occur, this can result in pleasurable or rewarding sensations, more alertness, or excitement depending on a person’s ability to accept the sensations coming into the body (Unkefer & Thaut, 2002). The role of the music therapist is to monitor central responses through EEG and evoked potential, to monitor motor responses including body movements, to monitor sensory changes which may include a change in the sensitivity of sense organs, and to monitor autonomic responses which may include heart rate and respiration (Unkefer & Thaut, 2002, p. 23). All of these may provide clues about music’s ability to generate affective responses and assist in mental health healing in a patient. Not all patients respond to music in the same manner. Harrison (2010) notes that therapists including Thaut use many rigorous testing methods that can help determine what types of music therapy are most effective for mental health therapy and patients. This may help generate greater funding in the field of music therapy.
Further research in the field may also promote greater use of music therapy for clients with schizophrenia but also lesser forms of mental health therapy (Harrison, 2010). Many studies suggest that music therapy provides larger benefits the more patients are exposed to music therapy, or the greater number of sessions a patient attends (Harrison, 2010). This is often referred to as a dose dependent relationship (Harrison, 2010). Sharma (2007) suggests that music has been a form of therapy that is well established since ancient times for correcting mental disabilities; even the placebo effects of music are known to be therapeutic and beneficial (p. 37). Music may improve behavior and cognitive abilities in the special education classroom, as well as in the rehabilitative or home environment (Sharma, 2007).
Watson (2007) suggests that music therapy makes reducing behaviors and emotions including anxiety and despair much less apparent. Music therapy can help address acute general psychiatric conditions as well, particularly in cases where there are not provisions for long-term therapy; music therapy is something that is easily accessed, and can be recommended as a home therapy for traumatic cases or acute and less severe causes requiring chronic treatment (Watson, 2007). This is one of the advantages of using music therapy. It is flexible and adaptable, and easily customized based on the needs of individual patients.