Monday, May 16, 2016
Therapy that’s music to our ears
Haven’t we all had the experience of listening to music and suddenly sensing a change in our mood? I’m sure all of us can recall feeling a flood of emotions when hearing a song associated with a joyful, exciting, or even sorrowful time in our life.
When you think about it, we have all been engaging in a form of therapy in our lives — music therapy — in a variety of ways. We listen to music in our cars, during commutes to work, at the doctor’s office, in waiting rooms, while shopping in stores, performing household chores, and more. Personally, I could never keep up with the mandate for daily exercise if I didn’t have music to accompany me on the treadmill. And music is at the core of the increasingly popular Jazzercise and Zumba exercise programs.
According to WebMD, music therapy is the use of music to gain physical and emotional healing and wellness. This can involve listening to music, music-making, or both. Some of the health benefits associated with music therapy are:
• Reducing stress
• Easing anxiety
• Decreasing depression
• Promoting relaxation
• Increasing concentration
• Boosting immune system
• Decreasing blood pressure
• Elevating mood
• Alleviating pain
• Helping express feeling
There are numerous studies detailing the effect of music on children with autism spectrum disorders, on infant development, management of the pain associated with childbirth, cancer, burn treatment, physical rehab, to reduce discomfort during dialysis, and to promote sleep.
In older adults with Alzheimer's, dementia, and other mental disorders, research suggests that music therapy can reduce aggressive or agitated behavior, reduce symptoms of dementia, improve mood, and improve cooperation with daily tasks, such as bathing.
As always, check with your health care provider before adding or substituting a complementary or alternative therapy like music therapy to your conventional treatment regimen.
Alice Facente is a community health education nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at www.healthydocs.blogspot.com or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at email@example.com.