Music as a means of communication can express emotions, attitudes and feelings. The most important communication aspect of music is because of its nonverbal aspect. Music reflects a wide range of human emotions. Because it is universal and does not belong to a specific group, it can overcome all cultural and linguistic barriers and provide a common experience for human interaction. Music is an organized reality. A real event that happens in time and requires one’s attention from moment to moment. Music can help to communicate where words alone are unable. Due to the real structure of music, a phenomenon is formed that can be heard and felt.
The field of music therapy is actually one of the branches of therapeutic sciences in which they use music and various activities along with music as a therapeutic tool and it has been customary for a long time, but it has been brought up scientifically in recent decades and many researches have been done on the effects of this treatment method and are still being done.
Also, music therapy is a complementary medicine. In short, complementary medicine means treatment without the use of chemical drugs.
History of music therapy
Music has been used for healing since the beginning of human history. In the primitive culture of African tribes, a person called shaman, the music leader, doctor and spiritual leader of the tribe, used music to remove diseases from the body of patients. The ancient Chinese of the Hindu civilization also considered music to be healing. Greeks also used musical programs to purify and refine emotions. The Romans considered music to be a cure for plague and insomnia.
From the 17th century to the middle of the 18th century, music was considered as a medical aid for the royal families while maintaining its nature. During the 19th century, the use of music in educational programs for the blind in America increased. In the 20th century, due to the use of music in therapy, the field for the creation of a profession music therapy was prepared and the therapeutic use of music expanded, especially in the profession of psychiatry. The first music therapy association in the world is the American National Music Therapy Association, which was founded in 1950. In 1971, the American Music Therapy Association was formed, and in parallel, the third important music therapy center of the Canadian Music Therapy Association was formed in 1974. In 1998, two music therapy associations of America united and formed a single organization.
Definition of music therapy
General definition: The use of music and music programs for the rehabilitation of physical and mental patients.
American music therapy association: The use and application of music for some therapeutic purposes, which can aim for things such as strengthening and organizing people’s mental and physical health.
Australia music therapy association: Optimum use of music for some therapeutic goals and meeting the emotional, physical and social needs of injured children and adults who need help.
Professional association of music therapists: Communication tools and networks to create a mutual relationship between the patient and the therapist through music and define musical signs that can make changes in both the patient’s condition and the treatment method.
What diseases is music therapy used to treat?
Music therapy can be an effective component in the treatment of depression. The use of music therapy when combined with usual treatments (such as antidepressants and psychotherapy) has been most effective for people with depression. If music therapy is used together with other treatment methods, it can help reduce obsessive thoughts, depression and anxiety in people with OCD.
Treatment of insomnia
Music, or even white noise, can help people fall asleep. Research has shown that music therapy is beneficial for people with sleep disorders or insomnia. Compared to drug therapy and other common treatments for sleep disorders, music therapy is less invasive, more cost-effective, and something a person can do on their own. Certain techniques, such as music-assisted relaxation therapy, help people with sleep problems by creating a relaxing “before bed” state. It can also be used in environments other than home, such as hospitals.
Music is useful as a solution for acute and chronic pain management in all age groups. For example, listening to music while recovering from surgery or injury can help children and adults cope with physical pain.
Pain after surgery
Music therapy is an effective method to reduce the level of pain, anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure in patients who have undergone thoracic surgery. Distraction techniques are often used to treat pain in children. Many studies have shown that music therapy can be a valuable tool in this type of treatment. Music can influence children’s behavior even if they are not aware of it.
Delivery, birth of a baby and examination after the birth of a baby
Music has long been recognized as a popular pain management strategy during labor and delivery. Music-assisted childbirth is a positive, accessible, non-pharmacological option for pain management that has benefits for both mother and baby. Newborns may also benefit from music therapy, especially during routine tests after birth.
Music therapy can be part of a long-term program to manage chronic pain. Music’s strong association with memory processing can also help people reconstruct and focus on positive memories from their past.
Coping with a cancer diagnosis and going through treatment is as much an emotional experience as it is a physical one. Similarly, cancer patients often require more than one type of treatment to meet their complex medical needs. Music therapy helps reduce anxiety in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy and can help them cope with side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea. The emotional benefits of music therapy that people with depression experience often apply to people with cancer as well.
Music therapy is also used for many other problems such as the following:
Autism spectrum disorders and learning difficulties
Behavioral and mental disorders
Developmental delays and learning disorders
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Stroke, brain damage and neurological disorders
Substance abuse disorders
Treatment of dementia
The last word of Alireza Kiarashi is to never separate music from your life.
To learn more about Alireza Kiarashi, you can follow him Instagram.