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Music Therapy: What Are The Benefits?

1381 words - 6 pages

Doctors and patients work together every day in order to find alternative treatment methods. One such alternative is music therapy. Music therapy is used address health issues regarding their physical and emotional health. The therapist meets with a patient to learn about their strengths and weaknesses before creating a customized treatment plan. Some methods of treatment include singing, playing with instruments and listening to music. These methods of treatment in turn help the patients learn different skills that can also be used to improve their daily lives. Research shows that music therapy has multiple benefits for patients including: helping patients cope with their physical pain, ...view middle of the document...

Armed with this research, it was only natural for music therapy to start as a profession in psychiatric hospitals. It was especially popular during times of war; soldiers who either suffered from a form of mental illness or physical injury from combat were the most common patients at the time. World War II especially caused the use of music therapy to grow. Doctors noticed that music therapy helped soldiers healed quicker and integrated it into the Army’s Reconditioning Program. This was rather crucial at the time because it was the first time music therapy was officially recognized as a method of treatment for patients. Near the end of World War II, musicians were assigned to work in military hospitals to work with the patients (Macalester College).
Although music therapy did indeed grow dramatically during the war, it became evident that the musicians needed some medical training as well before they enter the field and work with patients. The demand for a college curriculum grew. In 1950, Michigan State University was the first university to offer a music therapy degree program in the world. Different groups were created to educate people about music therapy and to train them, including the American Music Therapy Association (which is founded to be a part of the National Association of Music Therapy) and the American Association for Music Therapy. Other countries soon joined the movement and created their own programs around the world (University of Windsor).
Early on in its history as a medical field and profession in the mid 1900s, music therapy was widely recognized to help soldiers cope with their pain from combat. It is a very successful method of treatment because it distracts a bed-ridden patient from the pain, improves a patient’s blood pressure level, relaxes tension in a patient’s muscles and reduces a patient’s heart rate (American Music Theory Association). Not only does distracting the patient from their pain make them feel better at that very moment, it also helps the body to heal and recover quicker than those not having music therapy. According to a clinical in the Health Science Journal, music has been found to be an effective treatment for pain management that is also non-invasive to the patient, cheap and does not involve any medication. Five different studies with differing sample sizes ranging from about 44 patients to about 500 post-operative patients were performed. In one of the studies by Nisson et al., 30 out of 58 patients receiving music experienced much less pain than the patients in the control group while recovering from surgery. The music therapy patients also experienced less fatigue when they were discharged from the hospital and were able to move sooner than those not undergoing music therapy. (Economidoul).
Not only can music therapy help patients with their pain while in the hospital, it can also help patients regain their motor, speech and cognitive skills while in physical rehabilitation. Patients...

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