North Texas Daily

Music’s multifaceted benefits create more accessible options for patients

Music’s multifaceted benefits create more accessible options for patients

Music’s multifaceted benefits create more accessible options for patients
January 27
13:00 2023

While many people spend a portion of their day listening to music, most might not realize what may seem like casual background noise for them is an effective therapy tool. Considering modern innovations in the psychological sciences, music therapy is a versatile therapeutic option for people from all walks of life.

Music affects multiple parts of the brain that control movement, cognition, emotion and the senses. These functions are what make music therapy so universal. Certified music therapists use audio and music to help patients with multiple types of issues.

Whether a patient needs to manage their pain or improve their mood, music therapy helps with different aspects of life. Treatment may include listening, singing, dancing, writing and discussing music and its lyrics. 

Despite the implication that the music therapy practice is simple, music therapists have extensive education and certification to back their titles. Many universities offer it as an area of study, including Berklee College of Music.

After graduating, potential music therapists must pass an exam from the Certification Board for Musical Therapists. Passing this exam grants the certification necessary to practice music therapy professionally. 

Typically, music therapists work with patients suffering from chronic illnesses in hospitals. In the past, however, therapists have worked with patients of varying backgrounds, including military service members and veterans. 

Music therapy can alleviate side effects of physical illnesses by lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate and improving respiration. It can help Alzheimer’s disease because it stimulates the mind and aids with memory, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Studies have shown benefits of musical therapy are not exclusive to the mind. Music therapy provides structure, familiarity and predictability, which can help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn better. 

Trauma and crisis patients also benefit from music therapy because it can improve their moods and be an outlet for feelings. Music therapy supplies patients with the means to create better coping mechanisms, increase motivation and reduce muscle tension. Group musical therapy can enhance both communication and social skills.

Music can aid people in non-medical settings as well. Schools with music education programs have a 17.3 percent higher graduation rate than schools that do not, according to Children’s Music Workshop.

A study that tracked 25,000 middle and high school students over ten years showed students involved in music programs tend to perform better on standardized tests than other students.

Music therapy has a lengthy history dating back to the World Wars. Doctors recommended hospitals employ professional musicians after noticing their positive effects on the healing process of injured soldiers. This led to music therapy becoming an area of specialized training. 

Patients staying in hospitals for extended periods tend to suffer from chest pains, anxiety and depression due to stress, according to the Peterson Family Foundation. Music therapy combats stress, and its side effects to help ease a patient’s mind.

A study from Northwestern University and Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago found music and audiobooks can help children recover from surgery and alleviate pain.  According to Dr. Santhanam Suresh, a chair of pediatric anesthesiology at Lurie Children’s Hospital, audio therapy distracts patients from their physical pain and is a cheap, less risky alternative to medicating children post-surgery.

During the study, a group of children listened to pop, rock, country and classical music. Another listened to audiobooks like “Alice in Wonderland,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit” and “The Hobbit.” Both groups tended to feel less pain than children who received no audio therapy.

The benefits of music and audio therapy extend beyond the therapist’s office. Casually listening to music can still affect a listener. Playing upbeat music while working out can get the body pumped and ready, while listening to calming jazz may help calm a stressed college student.

People use music to cope with emotions regularly. Psychologists and medical practitioners may find that music therapy is a more viable and straightforward solution to many physical and mental stressors than commonly thought. 

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

About Author

Madelynn Todd

Madelynn Todd

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad