In my last blog post, I started started an exploration of why music therapy works. My passions for music and physical/mental wellness are deeply intertwined, so music therapy is especially fascinating. This post will be a continuation of the last, with more explanations of why music as therapy is a continuously successful brand of healing.
Our Brains Can Process Music As Soon as We’re Born
There have been studies that show that infants immediately possess the ability to decipher patterns and rhythms in music. It has not been determined why the ability to understand music is a predecessor to the ability to decipher language in infants. But, music is without a doubt linked to the human brain very early on. JAMA Pediatrics did a study that actually found music could be linked to a reduction in stress and pain for pediatric patients. When music was being played for pediatric patients, 66% of healthcare providers reported that IV administration was easier.
Music Optimizes the Brain
Research has shown that music can access, stimulate, and be processed by every part of the brain. It can even get into places of the brain that are otherwise inaccessible with our current understanding of the brain. Music-related therapy has been shown to improve cognitive and motor-specific tasks when normal therapy was just not as effective. A study completed by the Center for Biomedical Research in Music in Colorado monitored patients that were recovering from traumatic brain injuries. The patients were given a neurological tests before and after a 30 minute listening session. With just those 30 minutes, there was a noticeable, positive difference in executive function, anxiety, and depression.
Our Memories and Learning Are Tied to Music
Music works as a mnemonic device, and allows our brains to tag information. This helps with learning and recalling information or memories at a later time. Humans have been using that connection with children for years. (It’s why so many things that require memorization are put to music a la the ABC’s). Music Therapy professionals use music to trigger memories much later in life as well. Music is used with patients who suffer from dementia to rustle up memories that are associated with specific songs or time frames related to the music.
For sources, and more information on why music therapy works, visit the following sites: