Music Therapy & Research
Music, in the absolute sense, is the invisible geometry of the Universe, a delicate tracery of frequencies that harmonize with each other, from which all matter manifests.
The conductor of this sublime symphony is the creative force of the Universe.
What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.
Music therapy interventions can be designed to:
Promote Physical Rehabilitation
Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in a wide variety of healthcare and educational settings
Music therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.
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Who can benefit from music therapy?
Veterans and non-vets suffering from PTSD, Anxiety, stress, cancer (oncology) patients, abused victims, substance abuse, autism, behavioral, grief, bereavement, chronic pain, developmentally disabled, eating disorders, Asperger's, comatose, head injury, hearing impaired, hospice, labor/delivery, mental health, disabled, neurological, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, speech impaired, stroke, terminally ill, visually impaired, physical and mental & emotional rehabilitation, geriatric, adult and child day care, community, correctional facility, universities and all schools.
Music Therapy Research
Clinical research findings indicate:
Music therapy is provided as integrated care and stand-alone treatment for PTSD to address behavioral health goals such as: promoting relaxation, informing mind body connections, emotional regulation, hyper-vigilance, and sleep.
Music therapy in the treatment of TBI addresses cognition and memory, sustained/focused attention to task, divided attention/multitasking, problem-solving skills, speech and language, auditory processing (auditory perception and tolerance of auditory stimuli), motor control and response, and headaches.
In collaboration with other treatment disciplines, music therapy contributes to improvements in articulation, task-attention, and compensatory strategies.
Music therapy can enhance interpersonal communication, reduce isolation, and support familial bonding/social engagement.
In collaboration with other treatment disciplines, music therapy contributes to improvements in range of motion, functional use of bilateral upper extremities, strength endurance, and breath support.
The healing power of vibration
At its core, music is sound, and sound is rooted in vibration. Led by Lee Bartel, PhD, a music professor at the University of Toronto, several researchers are exploring whether sound vibrations absorbed through the body can help ease the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia and depression. Known as vibroacoustic therapy, the intervention involves using low frequency sound — similar to a low rumble — to produce vibrations that are applied directly to the body. During vibroacoustic therapy, the patient lies on a mat or bed or sits in a chair embedded with speakers that transmit vibrations at specific computer-generated frequencies that can be heard and felt, says Bartel. He likens the process to sitting on a subwoofer.
In 2009, researchers led by Lauren K. King of the Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Center at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, Ontario, found that short-term use of vibroacoustic therapy with Parkinson's disease patients led to improvements in symptoms, including less rigidity and better walking speed with bigger steps and reduced tremors (Neuro-Rehabilitation, December, 2009). In that study, the scientists exposed 40 Parkinson's disease patients to low-frequency 30-hertz vibration for one minute, followed by a one-minute break. They then alternated the two for a total of 10 minutes. The researchers are now planning a long-term study of the use of vibroacoustic therapy with Parkinson's patients, as part of a new partnership with the University of Toronto's Music and Health Research laboratory, which brings together scientists from around the world who are studying music's effect on health.
The group is also examining something called thalamocortical dysrhythmia — a disorientation of rhythmic brain activity involving the thalamus and the outer cortex that appears to play a role in several medical conditions including Parkinson's, fibromyalgia and possibly even Alzheimer's disease, says Bartel, who directs the co-laboratory.
"Since the rhythmic pulses of music can drive and stabilize this disorientation, we believe that low-frequency sound might help with these conditions," Bartel says. He is leading a study using vibroacoustic therapy with patients with mild Alzheimer's disease. The hope is that using the therapy to restore normal communication among brain regions may allow for greater memory retrieval, he says.
"We've already seen glimmers of hope in a case study with a patient who had just been diagnosed with the disorder," Bartel says. "After stimulating her with 40-hertz sound for 30 minutes three times a week for four weeks, she could recall the names of her grandchildren more easily, and her husband reported good improvement in her condition."
The goal of all of this work is to develop "prescribable" music therapy and music as medicine protocols that serve specific neurological functions and attend to deficits that may result from many of these neurologically based conditions. Rather than viewing music only as a cultural phenomenon, Bartel says, the art should be seen as a vibratory stimulus that has cognitive and memory dimensions.
A study from Austria’s General Hospital of Salzburg found that patients recovering from back surgery had increased rates of healing and reported less pain when music was incorporated into the standard rehabilitation process.
“Music is an important part of our physical and emotional well-being, ever since we were babies in our mother’s womb listening to her heartbeat and breathing rhythms.” – Lead clinical psychologist of Austria General, Franz Wendtner.
Music connects with the automatic nervous system (brain function, blood pressure and heartbeat) and the limbic system (feelings and emotions).
When slow music is played, the bodily reaction follows suit– the heart blow slows down and blood pressure drops. This causes the breath to slow, which helps release tension in the neck, shoulders, stomach and back. Listening to slow or calming music on a regular basis can help our bodies relax, which over time, means less pain and faster recovery time.
Finnish researchers conducted a similar study, but with stroke patients. They found that if stroke patients listened to music for a couple of hours a day, their verbal memory and focused attention recovered better and they had a more positive mood than patients who did not listen to anything or who listened to audio books.
These findings have led to a clinical recommendation for stroke patients: everyday music listening during early stroke recovery offers a valuable addition to the patients’ care by providing an “individually targeted, easy-to-conduct and inexpensive means to facilitate cognitive and emotional recovery,” says Teppo Särkämö, author of the study.
With brain-imaging techniques, such as functional MRIs, music is increasingly being used in therapy for brain-related injuries and diseases. Brain scans have proven that music and motor control share circuits, so music can improve movement for those with Parkinson’s disease and for individuals recovering from a stroke.
Neurologic music therapy should become part of rehabilitative care, according to this group of doctors. They believe that future findings may well indicate that music should be included on the list of therapies and rehabilitation for many disorders.
Bottom Line: Adding music to a standard rehabilitative process helps patients heal.
Music has a unique link to our emotions, and research has found that it can be used as an extremely effective stress management tool.
Just like listening to slow music to calm the body, music can also have a relaxing effect on the mind. Researchers at Stanford University found that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Since music is so widely available and inexpensive, it’s an easy stress reduction option.
So, what type of music reduces stress best? Here’s what we found:
Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums and flutes
sounds of rain, thunder and nature sounds
light jazz, classical and easy listening music
You must be the ultimate judge, however, of “relaxing music.” If Mozart isn’t quite doing it for you, explore other options that help you naturally relax.
HelpGuide.org, a nonprofit mental health and well-being organization encourages individuals to practice a healthy sonic diet. They suggest that “when choosing locations to eat, hold business meetings, or visit with friends, be conscious of the sound environment, including the noise level and type of music that is played. Loud noisy environments, as much as we try to ignore them, can contribute to unconscious stress and tension build-up without us even knowing it.”
Just like junk food increases stress in our system, a poor sonic or listening diet can do the same. Choose quieter environments and settings to prime your body to relax and recharge.
Making music can also release tension and relieve stress. Dana Marlowe, a technology accessibility consultant, gets relief from her daily work challenges in her toddler’s playroom:
“I just jam out with his toys — the xylophone, the baby piano. I almost have ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ down.”
Research has shown that casual music-making can short-circuit the stress response system and keep it from recurring or becoming chronic. WebMD tells us that “stress starts in the brain and then kicks off a chain reaction that switches on the stress response in every cell of our bodies. Over time, these cellular switches can get stuck in the ‘on’ position, leading to feelings of burnout, anger, or depression as well as a host of physical ailments.”
Bottom line: Both listening to and making music can alleviate mild and chronic stress.
Insomnia and other sleep deprivation issues can wreck havoc on our lives. What if music could help?
According to one study conducted by Harmat, Takács and Bódizs, 94 students (ages 19 to 28) with sleep complaints were brought into the lab. Participants were split into 3 groups.
The first group listened to classical music at bedtime for 45 minutes for 3 weeks.
The second group listened to an audiobook at bedtime for 45 minutes for 3 weeks. The control group received no intervention.
Sleep quality and depressive symptoms were measured using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index and the Beck Depression Inventory respectively.
The participants who listened to music showed statistically significant improvements in sleep quality and a decrease in depressive symptoms. There were no statistically significant results found for the audiobook or control group.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes claim that “an estimated 40 million Americans annually live with chronic sleep disorders, while 20 million more have trouble sleeping from time to time.”
In one meta-analysis of 10 randomized studies, researchers tracked 557 participants with chronic sleep disorders. They found that sleep quality was improved significantly with music and concluded that “music can assist in improving sleep quality of patients with acute and chronic sleep disorders.”
Get even more tips on a good night’s rest in our article The Science of Better Sleep.
Bottom Line: Sleep better, longer and with fewer disturbances by listening to music at bedtime.
Article presented by https://www.scienceofpeople.com/benefits-music/
What You Need To Know About Sound Healing
| Medically Reviewed
Sound has been utilized in various cultures for thousands of years as a tool for healing. Whether through the use of mantras as with the Hindis, the Icaros (medicine melodies) of various Indigenous peoples from Central and South America, or Pythagoras' use of interval and frequency, these various techniques all have the same intention: to move us from a place of imbalance to a place of balance.
Sound helps to facilitate shifts in our brainwave state by using entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a stable frequency which the brainwave can attune to. By using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves and it then becomes possible to down-shift our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness), and even reach theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep; where internal healing can occur).
This same concept is utilized in meditation by regulating the breath, but with sound it's the frequency that is the agent which influences the shift.
A sound therapy treatment is both a passive and participatory experience. The passive aspect is that you become more relaxed by laying down and slowing your breath. By doing this, you prepare yourself to become the receiver of sound. It's in this place of stillness that you participate by becoming more open and aware of each sound that comes in. Sound helps create the pathway to this place of stillness the same as a mantra helps you to arrive at the still point of meditation.
Some of the tools I use are voice, drumming, tuning forks and Himalayan singing bowls. It's important to note that awareness plays a huge role in our own healing. I find that vocal toning is an incredibly powerful practice that gives us the ability to fine-tune our greatest vibrational instrument: our own body. I always encourage clients to incorporate simple, but effective breathing exercises and vocal toning exercises in their daily routine, to help bring a greater sense of balance into their lives.