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Alternative Methods Of Healing: Music Therapy

2142 words - 9 pages

Alternative methods of healing have been utilized by non-western medicine for generations. The use of acupuncture to heal everything from seasickness to muscle soreness is well documented and widely used. Physical therapy is often a precursor to surgery and many times will prevent the need to undergo a more invasive procedure. A lesser-known form of alternative healing but becoming more popular is music therapy. In the late 18th century, scientists began to investigate the effects of music on the human body; however, using music as a healing medium dates back to ancient times. There are many forms and techniques of music therapy that aid a variety of disabilities having to do with communication, behavioral issues, the autism spectrum, and healing technique. Even for musicians, music is their personal form of therapy to express their emotions and feelings they cannot usually articulate in any other way through song. Music is an effective form of therapy because it allows the disabled to communicate freely through the emotions that are felt and expressed by the composer. It creates a pathway for healing and transformation by tapping into human emotions that would otherwise have been left dormant.
Music Therapy deals with listening to music, making or singing music, and being apart of musical activities. As a form of therapy, it has been receiving more exposure due to studies and experiments that have dealt with how music affects human behavior and emotions. Listening to music forces the listener to unknowingly question what they are listening to and to discern what the motivation of the composer of the piece is. Stephan Koelsch, a German scholar who has studied music therapy reported that “during music listening, individuals automatically engage processes of mental state attribution (“mentalizing” or “adopting an intentional stance”) in an attempt to figure out the intentions, desires, and beliefs of the individuals who actually created the music (also often referred to as establishing a “theory of mind,” TOM),” (Koelsch, 2010, 309). A song or a piece of music has the power to transform an individual and take them not only to a different state of mind, but quite possibly a different consciousness. Making or singing music also has the power to transform an individual. “There is a resemblance of music in pitch, volume, rhythm, melody and structure to the natural human expression of emotion in voice, demeanor and behavior” (Ushedo, 2006, 1). Making music can create an environment where it indirectly teaches individuals communication and social skills through the emotions brought out by the music. The social interaction between individuals with behavioral problems has been aided by using musical activities. It can “encourage or motivate communication through musical activities, which are responsive to the child to promote eye contact, turn taking, sharing, joint attention” (Stephenson, 2006, 297). While creating a calmer and more relaxed...

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