Ever seen an elderly person with worsening dementia singing a song word-for-word from their teen years? Or maybe a patient in a hospital listening to lessen their pain. In both instances, music is used as an outlet sought out for a therapeutic effect that drugs can’t quite reach. This field of study is known as music therapy. Although professionally it is relatively new, music therapy has been used for centuries as a way to aid people with their lives. The name gives a great insight to what music therapy is, but there is a lot more to it than just cranking up a song that you like for relaxation. The professional occupation of a music therapist is someone who uses music to “address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals” (1). This expanding field has made increasingly more impacts for those diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.
Everyone can undeniably agree that stress is a definite part of life. It’s different for everyone- some having it related to school or work, others with family issues. For those with stress as a medical condition, music therapy has been found, along with other creative arts, to be beneficial for their health. In a review of these types of interventions, music therapy is seen as a way to improve symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety for all age groups (2). Improving people’s moods and managing stress management is a definite way to relieve these mental health diseases that are so prevalent in today’s society.
Music therapy combined with other creative art mediations is shown to have an impact with stress absenteeism. In Germany, stress-related work leave led to an annual cost of 20 billion euros (3). Besides the loss of money, the rise in this type of stress is occuring more and the need for programs in stress management is becoming more important. This is where these interventions come in. Music and creative arts have shown a significant improvement in dealing with stress (3). Using this type of therapy is a definite aid in the prevention of stress.
Along with relief in stress, this form of therapy is found to be alleviating the dreadfulness of chronic diseases. Finding out that one’s lifestyle is going to have drastic, life altering changes changes a person. To go through this, some people might not find it as easy to deal with than others. Using music therapy as an aid, these people wouldn’t have to undergo the horrible fears of diseases such as cancer. In fact, research has found that this therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of cancer treatment such as severe nausea, mood changes, and pain (4). The research for such palliative care is continuing and continues to develop to aid these people with chronic conditions.
Going for a non invasive treatment to aid treatments of chronic diseases and calming those with mental ones is a great positive to the use of music therapy. As this treatment is researched and used more, the results of it will continue to be more positive. For more research about this, visit the American Music Therapy Association to learn more about the benefits and research.
(1) “American Music Therapy Association.” American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), AMTA, http://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/.
(2) Leubner, Daniel, and Thilo Hinterberger. “Reviewing the Effectiveness of Music Interventions in Treating Depression.” Frontiers in Psychology 8 (2017): 1109. PMC. Web. 9 July 2018.
(3) Martin, Lily et al. “Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review.” Behavioral Sciences 8.2 (2018): 28. PMC. Web. 9 July 2018.
(4) “Music Therapy.” Cancer Research UK, 5 Feb. 2015, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/music.