Hello there, music lovers. What if we told you that your favourite leisure activity—listening to music—can genuinely improve your mental health? Did you know the songs you listen to can do more than just make you tap your feet or sing along in the shower? You’re right, we are talking about music therapy.
Believe it or not, music therapy has been used for a very long time. Music has long been a part of healing rituals in indigenous societies, much as it was employed by the ancient Greeks to soothe the soul and quiet the mind. How cool! Fast forward to the 20th century, skilled therapists are utilising music to assist clients with mental health concerns, and music therapy has become a recognised profession now. So are you ready to know more about it?
Let’s Understand Behind-the-Scenes First!
Let’s start with understanding music therapy and the science behind it! Simply described, music therapy is a form of treatment that uses music to enhance a patient’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being. It’s possible to listen to music, sing, play an instrument, or compose music during music therapy sessions. Music sessions for therapy may entail singing, playing an instrument, or writing music. It’s not like you need to have musical talent or expertise to take part—everyone is welcome! So, whether you’re a music lover or just looking for a new way to improve your mental and physical health, give music therapy a try.
Now to understand the reasoning and the technicalities, read on! Science has shown that listening to music causes our bodies to generate hormones that improve our mood, and music therapists can take advantage of this!
- When dopamine, our happy hormone, is released, the number of pleasure receptors increases. It has been established that this chemical is also released when we listen to music while it is mainly released as a reward for satisfying bodily needs like eating and sleeping.
- In addition, endorphins, a hormone released into the body, are known to make people feel happy and euphoric. Although it is frequently associated with the “runners high,” scientists have discovered that music may also provide this happy sensation by releasing this.
- It has been proven that listening to music increases the body’s supply of Immunoglobin A cells. Don’t worry, we will explain what that means. The increase in these cells correlates to a strengthened immune system and your body becomes ready to fight off potential illnesses.
- Also, cortisol, our stress hormone is shown to be dramatically lower when we listen to relaxing music. The same goes for our blood pressure. That’s not all, though.
- Did you know our brains glow like Christmas trees when we listen to music? It is real! The limbic system, prefrontal cortex, auditory cortex, and other brain regions all take part in the activity.
Unlock the Magic: Here’s How Music Therapy Can Help You!
You might be wondering when to use music therapy, right? Numerous studies have demonstrated how music helps people concentrate. Apart from that, music is a great way to convey feelings and creativity without having to speak. Music is the ideal non-verbal approach to communicate emotions that are too difficult to talk about, whether you’re playing a playlist of your favourite songs with friends or strumming your instrument. Also, listening to ‘angry’ music can be therapeutic when you’re dealing with stress and anger. Subliminal and ambient music is proven to assist in anxiety and low confidence. And well, who doesn’t use music to relax?
How to decide if it’s for you? As mentioned earlier, music is universal, something that people of all languages can understand. For instance, music therapy may assist you in learning impulse control and healthier emotional expression if you suffer from a behaviour disorder. The correct music might even ease your symptoms of anxiety or mood disorders and make you feel more upbeat. Additionally, music therapy can be a beneficial component of your treatment plan if you’re struggling with issues like ADHD, autism, trauma, or substance abuse.
Enough with the basics, let’s get to how it actually helps your mental health now. FYI, music therapy is a fast-expanding area that uses the healing power of sound to assist individuals in overcoming a variety of mental health difficulties.
- Reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that listening to music has a relaxing effect on the neurological system, which can help lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- PTSD and trauma management: Music therapy can be a secure and efficient method of processing traumatic events and PTSD symptoms. You may feel anxiety, stress, and pain if you’ve gone through trauma or a crisis. Your mood will improve, you’ll feel more in control and confident, and music therapy will give you a non-verbal outlet for your feelings.
- Supporting addiction and substance abuse recovery: Music has the capacity to motivate change and can keep people in recovery driven and upbeat. According to research, it can boost self-confidence, relax tension in the muscles, lessen anxiety, increase self-awareness, and develop coping mechanisms.
- Improving cognitive function in dementia patients: Music therapy has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and communication in patients with dementia. The consistency, familiarity, and emotions of security may aid in memory and stimulate the mind.
And it goes without saying that it can promote emotional expression as well. There are several methods and ways that might assist you in utilising the therapeutic effects of sound, from singing and dancing to playing instruments and making your own music.
Ready To Incorporate Music Therapy In Your Routine?
If you’re interested in trying music therapy but don’t know where to start, fear not – there are plenty of ways to incorporate the healing power of sound into your daily routine.
Start with mindfulness. Try listening to music consciously and with intention rather than just as background noise. Pay attention to how the music makes you feel as well as the sounds, rhythms, and emotions it contains. Don’t be frightened to stretch your musical limits! See how different musical genres make you feel and how much energy you have by giving them a try.
Consider locating a licenced music therapist in your region if you need more professional support. They can help you develop a personalized treatment plan and guide you through therapeutic exercises. Enjoy your musical journey!