Music therapy – it’s a real thing! It’s defined as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.” This isn’t vague promises by eccentric healer-types on the fringes of society. It’s a real medical field, and science backs it. Read below about three incredible new ways music therapy is being used in medicine.
Using Music to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury or Neurologic Disease
Music Therapy company MEDRhythms has become a bit of a media darling because of their unique approach to healing those with (among other things) Traumatic Brain Injury. This is an injury common in soldiers that have been hit with an IED. They refer to their specific techniques as Neurologic Music Therapy. It can be used to help reactivate injured limbs or even reteach those that have lost their ability to speak because of damage to the brain. If you’ve followed the story of Senator Gabby Gifford’s horrific attack and incredible recovery, this type of therapy might sound familiar. She credits it with helping her restore her speech. Amazingly, even when unable to speak normally, she could sing, and that was just the start. Have a look at this video that shows her recovery.
Music and Insomnia
Insomnia is a well-known sleep disorder that affects millions of people in the US. It can be debilitating. The knock-on effects from a lack of sleep are numerous and can be severe. They include depression, heart problems, elevated stress, and more. Yikes! Not surprisingly, music is being used as a remedy to try to help lessen the severity of insomnia. Published in Neuroscience News, scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark conducted a study with over 300 participants. The focus was on sleep quality, which is defined by the number of awakenings throughout the night, as well as feeling rested and restored upon waking. Study participants listened to music daily for 25-60 minutes before bed over a period of 3-35 days. Results indicate improved sleep quality for 80% of participants. We all knew it- listening to calming music before bed helps you relax and fall asleep. Now there’s science behind it too!
Music and Stroke Recovery
Strokes can be devastating, both to the victim and those close to them. Many strokes are fatal, but for those that aren’t, numerous methods are used to try to restore brain function. There have been a variety of studies going as far back as 2006 that have shown positive results from various types of music treatments. A study published in the 2016 issue of Brain Connectivity indicated that the music’s familiarity to the patient had an impact. Using familiar music brought
about activity in the emotion and memory centers of the brain, while music that was randomly selected and unfamiliar to the patient activated the attention and memory centers. When these areas are activated it increases blood flow to them, which over time can help the brain recover function by helping restore the blood vessels and synaptic connections that were damaged by the stroke.
Those of us in the music industry always knew that our craft had restorative properties. Now the medical field is getting onboard, and having incredible success! The best part? If you’re a musician, now you can add HEALER to your resume. 😉