The Healing Power of Music
The healing effects of music have led to a new branch of therapy focused around music, and has shown positive signs in helping victims of both physical and emotional trauma.
Isn’t it interesting how music can have a significant effect on our mood? How it can help us experience a wide range of emotions such as happiness, sadness, calmness or excitement? We have all experienced the healing power of music; it is something we are all touched by and plays an important role in many people's lives.
The healing effect of music was known to many ancient cultures. The Ancient Greek “Father of Medicine” Hippocrates believed music was deeply intertwined with the medical arts. However, the music therapy profession formally began after the First and Second World Wars. Many community musicians volunteered their time and played for Veterans and the wounded who suffered physical and emotional trauma in hospitals. The effect music had on their health was very noticeable, that nurses and doctors started requesting musicians for the hospitals. Doctors and scientists started studying the effect music had on health and so by the 20th Century the first music therapy curricula and the first scientific organisation of the profession were created.
Nowadays, music therapy exists as an established profession, and it is offered for therapeutic support in clinics or outpatient practices. It is a research-based health profession that uses music to help clients reach their goals. These goals are accomplished within a therapeutic relationship through engagement in live musical interaction and musical play between a therapist and a client. Clients can create their own unique musical language in which they are able to connect with the world and express themselves.
Music Therapy can benefit many individuals of all ages, abilities and at all stages of life. It has been proven that music therapy can decrease depression and reduce stress hormones and pain levels. In addition, music therapy is also an effective clinical intervention for people who have difficulty communicating verbally. Music therapy is also used to promote mental and emotional health. Neurologists have been able to show with imaging techniques that music has a demonstrable influence on our brain structure. It has shown to affect many areas of the brain, including the regions involved in emotion, cognition, communication,sensation, and movement.
Additionally, Music Therapy has shown to have a positive effect on premature infants’ cardiac and respiratory functions, reduced parents’ stress levels by promoting bonding, and improved the infants’ feeding behaviours. Music Therapy was also found to help lower blood pressure, restore lost speech, reduce side effects of cancer therapy, recall memories, and help with physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Music creates access to our inner world. As a result, deeply hidden feelings can come to the surface. Music exerts a powerful influence on human health.