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The Benefits of Music Therapy in Treatment and Healing

Updated on July 29, 2015

Using music as a form of healing is not a new concept. Since ancient times music has been used to soothe and calm the mind. Crude woodwind instruments were amongst the earliest musical instruments used in various forms of emotional healing therapy. In present times music is used as healing therapy in various medical disciplines. Research reveals meditative music has the ability to lower levels of stress drastically. Music therapy refers to use of musical interventions by a medical professional to accomplish goals in various forms of therapeutic treatment. A medical professional may use different types of music therapy depending on an individual’s cognitive, emotional and physical needs. Music as a form of therapy is used in many rehabilitation programs to help individuals cope up with different stages in the recouping process. Music therapy is often evidence based music intervention undertaken by a certified healthcare professional aimed at accomplishing goal/s in accordance with client need and requirement.

In some therapeutic healing processes, an ambient environment is created for music healing sessions. In many religions, music is an integral element that helps individuals with faith to connect with the supreme power. The therapeutic effects of music for healing have been prevalent since ancient times. The sounds of nature are the purest form of music for inner healing and lowering levels of stress. Research reveals listening to bird sounds as you start your day in the morning has a rejuvenating effect on the mind. The costs of approved music therapy programs may vary in accordance with need and requirement for client.

The role of Jal Tarang in Music Therapy

Water based sounds such as the sound of rain, rustling of waves, and droplets of water hitting the ground are known to have a calming effect on the mind. Over the years water bowl instruments have become immensely popular in varied forms of music therapy. Jal Tarang, a melodic percussive instrument from India is becoming increasingly popular in music therapy sessions. Jal Tarang consists of a set of different sized ceramic or metal bowls tuned in accordance with the level of water in each bowl. The edges of the bowls or water are struck with a beater (wooden stick) to form a sound.

Jal Tarang is a wave instrument with a unique-melodic sound that has a healing effect on the listener. Jal Tarang is an ancient musical instrument that brings to life sounds of ripples of water in bowls. Jal Tarang is an instrument used in Indian Classical music. This musical instrument is known to lower stress levels. Many practitioners of yoga prefer jal tarang playing during various yoga postures in a meditative state. Milind Tulankar is one of the most prolific jal tarang player’s that has mesmerized global audiences with his flawless playing.

Music is being used as alternative treatment by many medical professionals to help individuals with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Music therapy has benefitted individuals who are unable to communicate and express themselves freely. Music has been used as an effective therapeutic tool to enable individuals with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s express freely during their social skills training programs. Many healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, psychologists, physicians, and occupational therapists, are using music therapy as an alternative treatment for their patients.

Music is known to relax the mind. Meditative music along with applied yoga postures is known to get rid of negativity and stress thereby ensuring a stress-free life. Music therapy is used by healthcare professionals in various domains to ensure their clients have a better life when it comes to cognitive skills, emotional development, motor skills, social skills and overall focus. Music therapy has been effectively used for individuals with special needs.

Music therapy programs

In many therapeutic programs, slow learners have been able improve in key areas… retention and focus, two focal points that are vital in helping slow learners excel. In many rehabilitation programs, individuals recovering from addiction cycles of substance abuse have benefitted significantly from music therapy. Imagery and music is used by psychiatrists to help their patients deal with behavioral problems in accordance with their problem. In many psychotherapeutic methods, classical music is the preferred choice of music to help individuals remain calm. Music therapy has also been used in different ways to help individuals with special needs.

The length of music therapy cycles differ in accordance with key areas the health professional is looking to improve upon. Among individuals with psychological ailments, the duration of music therapy is long and may be used whenever the psychologist or psychiatrist feels it is required for the patient. Music therapy is one among the many relaxation techniques that maybe used to help individuals with psychological problems or psychiatric problems cope up with self-awareness and behavioral problems.

Music Therapy treatments

While music therapy is considered an alternative treatment, and not mainstream, this form of therapy is being used a lot by physicians to help their clients in the best possible way. While a health care professional using music therapy should ideally have completed a music therapy program, there are many health care professionals that music as a tool to help keep calm and relax. Every healthcare professional adopts a music therapy program in accordance with client/patient needs. Music therapy programs vary drastically in accordance with targeted areas and key focus areas for patients. Music therapy may be stopped or started again by a health professional in accordance with benefits and requirement of patients.

Over the years music therapy has been successfully used to help individuals with various levels of complexities emotionally and physically deal in a positive and effective way. The effects of music as a form of therapy may work differently for patients in accordance with the root of the problem. Music as a form of treatment for individuals with psychological disorders may not show results in focused areas immediately, however, over a period of time improvement in focused areas does come about effectively.

The role of music therapy in Autism

Healthcare professionals have effectively used music therapy to help individuals cope up with autism. While different types of therapies have been used for neurodevelopmental disorders, research suggests music therapy does help children and adults with autism in regard with improving social skills and communication. It should be known that approaches of therapists using music therapy vary in accordance with need and requirement. Research reveals autistic children that have gone through sessions of music therapy along with guided imagery have shown remarkable improvement in ability to understand and follow instructions and also develop social skills and verbal communication skills effortlessly.

A large number of children with autism have problem with communication and social interaction. Using music therapy interventions has shown significant improvements with communication and social interaction. Furthermore research suggests, motor skills and focus patterns of individuals with autism have shown significant improvement after opting for music therapy.

Music therapy for the unborn child

Music therapy is also known to strengthen bond between mother and child. A simple lullaby sung by the mother for her child goes a long way helping the child familiarize with intonations and sense. More than sounds, its music, especially songs that help connect with the unborn child. Research and studies have revealed movements in the fetus are gentle when the mother is singing a lullaby or is listening to soothing music. Singing is known to be the most effective way to enhance communication among babies, and that’s the reason you find many mothers sing to their little babies. Music therapy has also enabled premature infants with developmental skills tremendously. Music stimulation is known to improve developmental activity and also behavioral patterns of premature children as they grow.

Various elements in music are known to have a calming effect on individuals suffering from stress induced problems and manic depression. Music therapy helps individuals with psychological problems focus better and cope up better with daily life. Research reveals music lowers levels of stress and enables individual to look at situations with fresh perspective. Music therapy is adopted by many clients on referral by health professionals. The modules of music at different levels in music therapy vary in accordance with what needs and requirements to be accomplished for the client. Classical music is used by many health professionals globally in various music therapy sessions. Woodwind instruments such as flute and pan flutes are also popular in music therapy sessions.

Music therapy is often used as an alternative method to improve physical, emotional and mental health. Different models of music therapy are used in accordance with behavioral, psychodynamic and cognitive therapy. Music therapists work with clients in accordance with varied requirements related to behavioral-emotional disorders. While music therapy may not be considered mainstream for healing and treatment, in the days to come music therapy will gain prominence in the medical fraternity.

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