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Music Therapy In Treating The Physiological Or Psychological Aspect Of An Illness Or Disability

2083 words - 9 pages

In the last decades of the information age, where technology has rapidly advanced and information is readily available through search engines connected to databases on the World Wide Web, medical studies have similarly advanced and enlarged their domain to psychological and physiological areas of study in addition to their traditional physical concerns. Music therapy, one area of study, has shown growing development and interest. Music therapist Deforia Lane defines music therapy as “the systematic application of music to aid in the treatment of the physiological or psychological aspect of an illness or disability” and notes that the human soul relates inseparably to this treatment (Lane 15). It is an increasingly prevalent and effective program which has a history, method, and effect.
The importance of music in an individual’s life has only recently acquired scientific support, although for much of human history its benefits have been suspected. Music has been an important part of cultures around the world for good reason. Interestingly enough, “embryologists agree that the ear is the first organ to develop in embryo”, suggesting even the beginning of the importance of sound in an individual’s life (Campbell 23). Also, it has been discovered that the ear “becomes functional after only eighteen weeks, and that it listens actively from twenty-four weeks on” (Campbell 23). Even as an embryo, before ever being exposed to light or a comforting touch, humans experience sound from the beginning of their existence. A mother’s voice becomes the first embrace her child will receive, with soothing harmonies and warm tones from simple conversations, creating symphonies during infancy. Although hearing greatly depends on the function of the ear, the importance of music extends throughout the whole body rather than only the ear. In his book, The Mozart Effect, Campbell states that “through the medulla, or brainstem, the auditory nerve connects with all the muscles of the body” and sound waves detected by the eardrum coordinate with nerves “to regulate, control, and ‘sculpt’ all the major organs of the body” (Campbell 53). Such research suggests that music and sound has a profound influence on the body and its functions even though it may not be immediately apparent. According to “How and Why Is Music A Good Tool For Health?” by Elizabeth Scott, “research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brain waves to resonate in sync with the beat”, which can last beyond the listening period (Scott).
Benefits of music appear rapidly as in-depth research increases. Scott states that “music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind” as well as “an activation of the relaxation response” (Scott). Among other things, music has the ability to “reduce blood pressure and heart and respiration rates; decrease pain reception, levels of fear, stress, and anxiety; [and] occupy some of the brain’s neurological pathways and reduce the number of...

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