Music And Therapy
Music and therapy go hand in hand; music reaches and heals various diseases and medical conditions where mainstream medicine cannot reach.
Music is made by man for the appreciation by man. Music is a stimulus and its response is emotion. Emotions cause the brain to produce various chemicals for distribution throughout the body. One of these chemicals is endorphin. Endorphins are pain relievers, stress regulators, regulators of intestinal wall contractions and also mood determiners. When endorphins reduce stress, the body's immune system rejuvenates to heal the damages previously caused by stress. Music heals indirectly by stimulating the body to heal itself.
The use of music to treat various medical conditions and disorders is called music therapy. It is used in conjunction with mainstream medicine to treat epilepsy, Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Music is also used to help stroke patients and reduce pain and anxiety in cancer sufferers, women undergoing delivery and children with disabilities.
Mozart would have been very pleased to know that his sonata reduces epilepsy by reducing the abnormal brain activity. In contrast, listening to pop music had no such effect on epilepsy sufferers.
Alzheimer disease patients can practice singing to improve or lessen their memory loss. If they were able to learn to play a musical instrument, this would further help in their rehabilitation. Learning to play music increases spatial-temporal reasoning, which means it increases the person's capability in making plans, managing time and thus coping better with life.
Music stimulates brain activity. Music's rhythm activates the brain's motor system to synchronize movement in otherwise frozen limbs of Parkinson's and stroke patients. Music literally becomes the moving force in physical rehabilitation.
Music reduces pain in terminal cancer patients by increasing the endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relievers. Music may not be able to battle cancer but it can make the difference between dying in dignity or dying in agony. Most pain killers will cause the patient to become comatose and unresponsive to relatives maintaining the bedside vigil.
Mums-to-be for natural childbirth are encouraged to use music for breathing and relaxation during labor. The very brave can try to go all the way with music and avoid anesthetics in natural childbirth.
Children with disabilities learn to overcome their difficulties with the help of music therapy. Music is a universal language that breaks even the barriers of silence in handicapped children. Conventional therapy is the doorway but music is the key to open up the child to become receptive to traditional therapy. Physical therapists are known to use music to soothe, distract and relax children to help them overcome the trauma of medical treatment.
Soothing music can help to lower blood pressure, lessen the emotional pain of bereavement, alleviate depression and also provides a channel of expression for socially withdrawn people.
Incorporating music into our daily routines helps to combat stress and fatigue. Listening to your favorite music relaxes you and tones you down after a day of activity. Playing a musical instrument is an outlet for your emotions and a safe revenue of release for your nervous energy. Similarly, aerobics enthusiasts exercise to the beat of catchy music.
Music is known to help fetuses and newborns in their brain development. Such children tested for their aptitudes have shown advantages over their peers with no exposure to music.
Music isn't an alternative medicine to traditional medical practice. Music heals in areas where other types of medication can't reach. There isn't a clear cut scientific explanation yet but for now it is sufficient to know that music heals.