While music is both soothing and entertaining, several studies have also shown that music therapy can help people who have illnesses, learning disabilities or emotional problems.
Music therapy is a technique that uses music to improve a person’s mental as well as their social function. There are four ways of using this technique: listening to music, dancing, singing or making musical improvisation using all types of instruments. The therapy has been found very useful for helping people who have a wide array of health problems.
Music for the elderly
One of the most important areas where this therapy is getting great results is with the elderly. In the 50+ age groups, people can withdraw themselves from an active life and lose interest in what surrounds them, which can decrease their self-esteem. Music can help these individuals feel better and to diminish negative feelings.
In some nursing homes, staff organize music therapy group sessions with the goal of making communication easier. They use the music as a stimulant. Depending on the objectives they want to achieve, the staff will use different types of songs. If they want to arouse emotions they will use songs that remind patients of moments from their past. These kind of songs favor the memory.
Other times they use melodic songs to stimulate physical activity. With all these techniques, the goal is to overcome physical problems derived from boredom, fear of death, personal stagnation or loneliness.
Music to fight off diseases
Music has been shown to diminish pain and reduce anxiety and stress. Some researchers have demonstrated that people who have practiced this therapy before surgery have suffered less pain than the ones who didn’t. This therapy has also had positive results with people who suffer Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.
Other ways music can help
Music therapy is also used on pregnant women for their labor preparation because this is an important relaxation factor. You can also obtain benefits through singing practice. In some music therapy sessions they encourage people to sing to show their personality and to improve their diction, their attention and memory.
Types of music
The type of music you use will depend on the person and his or her personal situation. Melodies should go against the patients state of mind. Paradoxically, when feeling depressed, the patient shouldn’t listen to any upbeat, rhythm song because in that case that song won’t have the same effect or meaning.
Similar to the treatment of the elderly, songs shouldn’t be completely unfamiliar, otherwise they won’t pay attention to them. However songs shouldn’t be very popular either because it will have a negative effect as well. It is very important to be treated by a credible therapist. He or she will be the one that will know which is the perfect song for each patient.