This kind of art form has long been recognised as an effective form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions. But the notion of using song, sound frequencies, and rhythm to treat physical ailments popularly known as sound healing is a relatively new domain, yet it has so many advantages. Here are some of them.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety affect every human. But did you know that you can use music to reduce stress and anxiety? Some people might hear song lyrics and feel a sense of validation that their experiences might be like the songwriter singing about a metaphor of anxiety.
Others might use musicking — or the act of making music — as a way to be mindful and redirect their anxieties into the music they are making. You can also use music as a kind of non-pharmacological anxiolytic, meaning letting the music of your preference dissociate your mind from the current anxiety it is feeling and refreshing your headspace before trying to address your anxiety in a healthy, mindful way.
Music gives one access to a variety of sounds and expressions. This act is believed to reduce depressive symptoms. Through engaging with instruments or listening to your favourite songs and artists, music helps one to calm down. However, it is good to note that music therapy is not a cure for depression, it only offers short-term benefits by improving mood and encouraging connection and self-expression. In short, music may temporarily distract one from worries, helping to replace challenging thought patterns with pleasant notions and building therapeutic connections between the provider and the individual.
Improves fine and gross motor skills
Gross motor skills pertain to skills involving large muscle movements, such as independent sitting, crawling, walking, or running. Fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscles, such as grasping, object manipulation, or drawing. When a person is challenged to perform motor movements that are difficult for them, it can be very frustrating to practice those movements. That’s where music therapy comes in.
Music and music activities have a natural tendency to be fun, and motivating, and also to distract from pain or frustration that arises. Most people move to music naturally and spontaneously. This is one of the reasons music therapy can be so beneficial for individuals who have gross or fine motor goals.
Decreases muscle tension.
Muscle tension is one of those difficult consequences resulting from stress. If you can release stress through the power of music, that means that you can also release muscle tension through the same power. This is possible because music therapy triggers the autonomic nervous system to allow relaxation in muscle tone and release body tension.
Can act as a coping mechanism
For someone in hospice care who is processing the end of their life, music therapy may decrease their end-of-life suffering. Live music has been found to be more effective in promoting relaxation and a peaceful state of mind in terminally ill patients when compared with spoken cues.
Helps patient cope with treatment
When used therapeutically, music may help one cope with the stress of having a disease, stabilise one’s mood, and help manage certain symptoms. Music can also be a spiritual support, providing comfort in times of uncertainty. Apart from that, music therapy also reduces distress for patients as they undergo tests and procedures that may feel foreign or scary.
Improves heart rate function
While music therapy is often used to promote mental and emotional health, it can also improve the quality of life for people with physical health problems, such as heart failure. Listening to music and singing have both demonstrated benefits for cardiovascular health.
A recent study by the American College of Cardiology shows that patients who suffered episodes of chest pain soon after a heart attack, known as early post-infarction angina, had significantly lower levels of anxiety and pain if they listened to music for 30 minutes a day.
Improves oxygen levels
One of the most significant benefits of singing to babies is the improvement in oxygen saturation levels. Available research shows that premature babies who listen to music have been found to have better oxygen levels, and singing can improve their feeding volumes as well, which is important for their bodies to function.
Singing also decreases emotional arousal and crying in babies, which promotes more restful sleep.
Music is a great tool to help stimulate memory. This is one of the ways that music therapy helps dementia. Listening to familiar music brings back special memories and jogs the brain for details of when they last listened to that song.
This is, especially important for those with dementia symptoms. Just like music therapy works on stimulating memory, it is also a handy technique for improving cognition. Listening to music helps to activate the part of the brain that is related to emotion, speech, and reasoning. This also works when playing music.
While we love music because it helps us recover old memories, it also helps to create new ones. This can be particularly special for those of older age.
Improves blood vessel function
Listening to music extend past distressing your mind. When you listen to music, your arteries relax. Relaxed and well-maintained arteries are essential for good circulation. Relaxing your arteries helps to reduce the build-up of blockages that can restrict blood flow and circulation, leading to heart disease or a heart attack.