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The Beat Of The Brain Essay

1707 words - 7 pages

“The body is a virtual symphony of frequencies, sounds, and biological, mental, and emotional rhythms in a state of conscious flow, which seek to achieve and maintain the state of perfect balance and equilibrium.” As Doctor Randall McClellan so eloquently put it, the body naturally matches with music in an indescribable way; when it is properly functioning, it harmonizes perfectly, and when it is not, music can help restore the body to normalcy. Within music is the ability to affect people both physically and mentally. The use of this ability to influence brains in a positive way changes the outcome or the course of different diseases and disabilities.
Music therapy has ...view middle of the document...

On the other hand, music therapy is not limited to singing; music improvisation is frequently used. For instance, Ana Pinho and several colleagues from Stockholm, Sweden conducted a study which showed that extensive experience with improvisation caused lower levels of activity in frontal and parietal association areas, exercising cognitive control, working memory, and explicit response selection. (“Medscape Log In”).
Music therapy has many different uses, whether it is for physical and/or mental restraints or impairments, emotional deficiencies, aiding in the toleration of pain, or diseases. The most common use for music therapy would be the redevelopment of speech, or breaking speech impediments. Stuttering is an excellent example of said redevelopment; when singing, stutters disappear, due to the predictable beat of the music. Dyslexia is an example of mental impairment; since dyslexia affects not only reading and writing but also listening, dyslexics often have trouble categorizing what they hear, meaning that contextual noise is not filtered out. With concentrated music therapy, patients with this issue were close to resolution. Music therapy for speech is also very prominent. One in five patients struggle with aphasia after having a stroke, and since aphasia is not being able to speak due to the language pathways in the brain’s left hemisphere being impaired, (Moisse). Dr. Schlaug and others studied patients who were expressive through singing, chanting almost. This was named “melodic intonation therapy,” and assisted the patients by allowing them to create a rhythm by tapping along while they chanted. This consistent beat allowed them to talk. This same method also allowed previously handicapped patients to move: for example, patients with Parkinson’s disease were able to walk due to the ability to “perceive and anticipate rhythm.” Schlaug, astounded by the results, stated, “it works well and it works instantaneously, and it is hard to think of any medication that has this effect.” (Hope of Music’s) The same amazement rang true for Alzheimer’s patients; increased melatonin levels due to music therapy might have been a main contributor to the patients’ calm mood and relaxed nature (Europe PubMed Central). This carried over to the act of music therapy used as a “painkiller” of sorts: a study conducted on a group of people suffering from severe headaches showed that those who attended music therapy received ⅙ fewer headaches, and the headaches they did receive were much less severe. This recovery is contributed to music releasing endorphins.
Although music therapy is mainly attributed to the treatment of physical injuries, etcetera, it can also be used to treat emotional pains. Examples are present in cancer patients: since many patients fight with feelings of depression, tension, loss, grief, isolation, and pain, music therapy is often used to create closure. There are many different facets for this type of...

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