What is music therapy?
Simply put, music therapy is the use of music for “non-musical” treatment. Examples include playing music and setting up playlists for memory patients, music before or after surgery that a patient enjoys, and even for those with autism spectrum disorders. Several medical organizations are beginning to recognize the power of music and use it in their practices.
A recent article titled “Surgery patients hear benefits of music loud and clear” by Carina Storrs, demonstrates how one hospital is using music to help patients through surgery. Some of the music is live and other music is recorded. The goal is to help the patient relax so they are in less pain. And, it seems to be working.
Other organizations are using music therapy in non-surgical patient care. Take the company Brain Balance, for example. They utilize music for children with learning and behavioral disorders. In fact, the director of the program commissioned a composer to write music that will target specific needs for children in the program. The patient plays the music in the right ear, left ear, or both ears (depending on each child’s specific needs). From the testimonials on the website, it’s easy to see how this program is very effective. Although music isn’t the only type of therapy used, it IS a major part of the program.
What’s exciting about the use of music in a variety of healing practices is that we’re seeing how the power of music can affect our physical bodies as well as emotions. The music recorded for the Prophetic Musical Journey (click title to listen to samples) fits within the music therapy category. Music that’s meant to heal the emotions, be relaxing, inspire, etc., is all essentially a form music therapy.
In a sense, if you listen to music that inspires you, relaxes you, brings healing into your life, and/or creates a sense of peace, it’s music therapy. You don’t necessarily need to be having surgery to make use of music as a therapy tool. Imagine putting on soothing music when you’re stressed out or need inspiration… For most people, this would be an asset to bringing creativity and calmness into their lives.
Something to remember from the article by Clarina Storrs; the type of music you listen to should fit what you’re after. Playing a heavy metal rock tune in the surgery room is probably not going to calm your nerves for surgery. So, consider choosing music that will assist with what you’re trying to accomplish.