Today we live in a world where science has its impact on everything. From the food we eat, the internet we use, to medicine that we take, everything is a product of scientific research and development over the years. Today science has the answer to all your questions and treatments to all your diseases. There are various pills, vaccines, huge pieces of machinery, etc. to detect and treat diseases. But what if science fails? Does science fail? Yes, it certainly does. When science fails to treat you, art, music and other recreational activities step in.
The process of using music for several life-changing benefits including stress removal and physical disabilities is called music therapy. Music therapy has been around for many years and is still a concern for scientists. Music therapy is still under intense study and scientists are yet to find out all its potential benefits. For now, we have gathered some basic introduction and working mechanisms of music therapy. we hope this will increase your knowledge regarding the topic and help you gain a little more perspective.
What Is Music Therapy?
There is a famous saying that “Where words fail, music speaks” which is true for most of the people. Music is not just a combination of beats, rhythms, and instruments to comfort your ear but it has life-changing benefits. Using music to improve the wellbeing a mental state of a person is music therapy. It is evidence-based and scientifically proven that music improves the quality of life of the client.
When you are sad, happy, or in other states, your preference of music changes. So during the sad or under stress condition, music can make you relaxing and calm. But can you regard this as music therapy? No, this is just one of the many benefits of listening to music but not considered as music therapy. Music therapy is more complex, professional and you cannot treat yourself at home like doctors, can you?
Types Of Music Therapy
In today’s world, doctors use different kinds of music therapies on their patients. But generally, there are two types of music therapy. These two types are receptive and active therapy.
In receptive music therapy, clients are given recorded music tapes and audios to make them feel better. Sometimes clients are music sessions and have to listen to soothing and calming music for hours. This type of therapy can reduce stress, decrease pain, and decrease anxiety. However, it has not been associated with disease treatment. Popular songs like American Pie, Amazing Grace, Blue Suede Shoes, Blue Skies, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Somewhere Over the Rainbow are preferred by therapists all over the world for receptive music therapy. You can listen to these songs at home to make yourself calmed and relaxed. But it won’t be therapy in particular.
On the other hand, under the active music therapy, clients engage in music-making by singing or playing different instruments. The active music therapy turns out to be more effective in case of physical disabilities and diseases. For example, the harmonica is taught under different therapies to treat lung diseases among patients. Also, therapists teach simple musical instruments to elderly people in a nursing home in Japan to overcome physical difficulties.
What Does A Music Therapist Do?
A music therapist is a well-trained professional, both in the field of music and psychology who implies the right kind of procedure to improve the well-being of the patient. Today music therapists can be found at school, nursing homes, mental facilities, and hospitals. A music therapist has to deal with a wide range of patients using a variety of music and instruments.
When a client is first brought up to the therapist, they evaluate and prepare a goal. They consider the clients’ musical preferences and devise a treatment plan. This plan can be unique for each patient. Since music therapy includes a lot of music and psychological knowledge, a single person can’t learn all of that. So, usually, there are therapists with divided skills and capabilities. So, a good therapist will always recommend the client to other therapists if another method of treatment could be more effective.
Sometimes the therapist encourages the client to listen to recorded and live music. And other times, the patient has to indulge themselves in music-making by writing, singing, or playing instruments. Playing any kind of musical instrument has a great effect on human health. For example, drumming can drastically reduce stress and regulate heartbeat. A music therapist most commonly performs his/her session on groups rather than individuals. This turns out to be more effective.
How Does Music Therapy Work?
Today therapists use music therapy on all kinds of patients with all kinds of disorders and diseases. But what is the secret that makes it so effective? How does Music therapy work? Five factors contribute to the effectiveness of music therapy.
Modulation Of Attention
The most notable effect that music has on our body is the modulation of attention. It grabs our attention and diverts it away from negative feelings. These feelings can be a result of pain, stress, anxiety, etc. Music fights against these feelings to make us feel much more motivated, happier, calm, relaxed, and satisfied. Similarly, music therapy also diverts the pain from patients mind and engage their body in healing rather than suffering.
Modulation Of Emotion
Different studies have shown over time that music can regulate the activity of brain regions that stimulate, maintain, and terminate emotions. Using this property of music, therapists control human emotions in clients. Music therapy shifts the mood from sad to happy, depressed to motivated, and stressed to relaxed. By gaining such control over emotions, the human being can be more productive, efficient, and free from mental stress, depression, and overthinking which can sometimes lead to suicide.
Modulation Of Behavior
Music therapy also has an impact on human behavior. When used on disabled people, it treats them by changing the way they talk, walk, grasp, and perceive things. This is one of the major factors that makes music therapy so efficient. By having an impact on our behavior, music therapy changes the way we perceive the world.
Modulation Of Cognition
Music therapy helps to improve cognition power by increasing our ability to encode, store, and decode music-related events. During therapy sessions, the therapist focuses on the storage of music events but as we apply it to our real life, our memory power increase drastically.
Modulation Of Communication
Music therapy helps us to connect or communicate with people without relying on actual words. In fact, using music to communicate is more poetic, meaningful, and allows us to express better. Verbally impaired people who cannot use words can rely on music to communicate and express themselves better. So, this reduces their social anxiety.
The Benefits Of Music Therapy
From treating your physical disabilities to fighting the negative thoughts inside your head, music therapy does it all. Scientists are still studying the wide array of applications of music therapy. Some of the most significant benefits of music therapy until now are:
- Music therapy boosts the healing of physical wounds and inflammation.
- It can help manage memory loss, mental diseases, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Since most of the therapy sessions are done in a group, it helps people cope up with their loneliness and depression.
- Music therapy is used to treat extreme psychological disorders like schizophrenia.
- Music therapy helps people to communicate and express themselves better.
- It can help people with sleeping disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea to get better deep REM sleep.
- Therapists also use music therapy on patients with medical disorders and diseases like cancer, tuberculosis, and cardiovascular diseases.
Can You Perform Music Therapy At Home?
As we have already mentioned, music therapy is a combination of advanced sessions performed by psychological and music experts on clients. So, there is very little chance that you will get the same amount of benefit from music therapy at home as compared to that by professionals. But today, as digital platforms we provide music therapy sessions through our Mobile Application and YouTube channel.
Our app “Good Vibes Official” contains a wide range of soothing audio, music, and bedtime stories that help reduce stress, anxiety, and helps you sleep better. The sessions in the app can be considered as music therapy because the music on our app and YouTube channel are composed combining various frequencies (binaural beats), instrumental music, natural sound, and many more. The application allows you to record your progress (level) and set reminders for other sessions. Likewise, there are stories, music, music for kids, and much more that will come really handy. The app also contains breathing sessions that help you relax, slow down, and steady your breathing.
Opening the app for the first time allows you to set a goal or goals. You can choose from developing gratitude, better sleep, improve focus, reduce stress, build self-esteem, increase happiness, reduce anxiety, and learn to meditate.
The app also contains nature sounds like that of river ad water-fall which makes relaxation more natural. You can also download the music from the app and listen to them when you don’t have access to the internet. This app is truly a complete alternative to music therapy for those people who cannot take music therapy sessions.
Using Binaural Beats for Music Therapy
If you don’t prefer podcasts, stories and want something wordless, then binaural beats are the best choice. When you listen to two beats with different frequencies from both your ears, then your brain processes a single bit with a frequency equal to the difference of the beats’ frequencies. This brain-processed beat is called a binaural beat. the frequency of a binaural beat depends upon the frequency of the beats your stereo headphone is producing. The binaural beat that we listen to can stimulate the brainwave and change our mental state. This process is called brainwave entrainment.
By listening to binaural beats of 0.1 to 13 HZ, you trigger the delta, theta, and alpha brainwave regions in your brain. These regions are responsible for deep NREM sleep, deep relaxation, and stress reduction respectively. Listening to binaural beats on a regular basis has almost all the health benefits that a complete music therapy session has.
You can listen to binaural beats of any frequency on our mobile application Good Vibes Official and on our YouTube Channel Good Vibes – Binaural Beats. However, you recommend you to use the app as it comes with tons of new features that you will love. Some of the features are: sound healing session according to your choice, level features – increase as you listen (unlocking new features), Favorite option, offline download option, mindful reminder, timer, sleep audio with stories, storied and sound therapy for adult as well as kids, and composing your own music.
All in all, music therapy is a very complex subject matter we cannot include all of it in a single section. If you want to be treated with this therapy then you must consult a doctor or choose the methods that we have mentioned above. Besides, the “Good Vibes Official” app and binaural beats are the best alternatives to music therapy and you can perform almost a complete music therapy session at home with the audio files and a headphone.
Our platforms come in handy especially in the time of a global pandemic like right now. Because it is better to get therapy at home rather than going out and getting infected with the virus. Therapists can inform their clients about the facilities provided by the app and can host sessions online.
Music therapy is a great tool and if you want to take a break from your hectic life schedule and refresh your mind then surely go for a session or two.
We have included everything related to music therapy in short. It must have surely helped you gain a lot of information regarding what music therapy is and how it works.