Music Therapy—The Benefits Are Profound

Doctors discovered that music therapy had a calming impact on World War II soldiers’ combat-wracked nerves in the middle of the twentieth century, which is when music therapy first emerged as an organized field of study.

However, shamans have long used tribal drumming to promote healing, and nowadays, music therapy has been expanded to assist those who suffer from depression or severe mental illness, as well as those who have autism in children, hospice patients, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or other neurological damage.

Music has a “unique power to arrange or reorganise brain function when it has been disrupted,” according to Dr. Oliver Sacks. (Sacks once brought a patient with a brain tumour to see the Grateful Dead; the patient’s appreciation of the band’s music actually roused him, if only momentarily, from his coma.)

Also, listening to music decreases stress hormones, increases oxytocin levels, which is a chemical associated with tenderness, and increases an antibody that fights illness. Prior to surgery, during dental procedures, or during arduous cancer treatments, it is used to soothe patients. US Senator Harry Reid succinctly put it this way:

“Simply put, music can heal people.”

I enquire about the music that Saint Louis University Cancer Center music therapist Crystal Weaver employs when she works with patients. Bach for mental clarity, Brahms for sleeplessness, and perhaps some Motown to lift someone’s spirits?

She calls that type of stereotyping “a fallacy. What is beneficial to the patient will vary. The Grateful Dead could bring comfort to an elderly rocker, but a polka would have helped my great-aunt go through chemotherapy.

Weaver learns about the patient’s favourite and/or desired genre of music during the initial consultation. She asserts, “We follow the client’s lead. Individuals have few alternatives when undergoing therapy because there is so much that they must do and cannot do.

We thus grant them autonomy and choice. However, if someone isn’t at all in the mood for music, they will just chat. Several counseling philosophies are taught to music therapists; for example, sometimes individuals prefer to talk than to listen, and music lets all kinds of emotions out. Also, since therapists aren’t just playing for fun, they learn how to change a piece’s pace to suit various objectives.

“I know I can adjust the music to a specific speed if I’m seeing a patient who has anxiety concerns so their pulse and biorhythms will slow to match,” explains Weaver.    Therapist near me“Stress causes your veins to slightly shut, your heart rate and blood pressure to spike, and the medication doesn’t work as quickly.”

The opposite is true for upbeat, accelerated rhythms, which can be beneficial for those undergoing physical therapy for rehabilitation. Someone who has had a stroke can relearn how to walk with a steady stride by listening to a Sousa march with a strong rhythm.

To be able to play anything their patient desires, therapists must be at least skilled on the guitar and piano and have the ability to acquire new music quickly. Believe it or not, some contemporary country music is difficult to learn, says Weaver. She can’t get away with using a playlist since live music has a stronger impact on people.

She has played jazz, blues, Big Band music, Christian Science hymns, and Jewish music on her guitar. She sings as well, and if her clients or their family want to, they may join in. She claims that entering a spontaneous jam session as a doctor “is a fantastic equaliser.” Everyone is brought together by it.

Weaver advised the family members who were powerless and unsure of what to do as their mother lay dying: “You can help me more than I can assist your mother since I don’t know what type of music she loved.” They got happier. Christian hymns. Weaver began singing “In a Garden.”

She invited everyone to join in on a gentle rendition of “How Awesome Thou Are” and “Amazing Grace,” explaining that doing so would give her a chance to hear and know their voices.  St Louis therapy They were weeping, but I was unable to stop because of them. They pronounced it fantastic. They had the chance to say farewell in a moving and tranquil manner.

I enquire of Weaver what genre, if ever ill or distressed, she would find solace in. She giggles. I definitely adore pop-punk music,” said the speaker.

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