Music therapy is the use of music by trained professionals to encourage relaxation and enhance quality of life in people receiving health care. The hope is to relieve stress and promote well-being. Some people experience reduction of symptoms and improved healing. If you love listening to music, this therapy might be right for you.
Trained music therapists tailor sessions to individuals and groups based on their needs and musical preferences. A session may involve listening to music, making music, writing songs and discussing lyrics. Music therapy is given in various settings like hospitals, treatment centers, at home or outdoors. Patients do not need any musical ability to experience or benefit from music therapy.
Music therapy can ease nausea and vomiting following high-dose chemotherapy when combined with anti-nausea drugs. In people with cancer, music therapy can:
- Provide comfort and relaxation
- Reduce short-term pain
- Decrease intensity of pain when combined with pain-reducing drugs
- Minimize the need for pain medication in some patients
- Improve quality of life
Other studies on music therapy show that it may reduce breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Music therapy can also affect stress hormones and brain waves (which can induce relaxation). A handful of studies on neurologic music therapy report that it eases depression, improves stuttering, enhances brain plasticity, and improves function and emotional adjustment in people with traumatic brain injury.
If you are interested in music therapy, the American Music Therapy Association provides an online directory of music therapists.