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Music Therapy

Music Therapy

Treatment Overview

Music therapy is the use of music to gain physical and emotional healing and wellness. A trained and certified music therapist can provide music therapy. Therapy sessions can involve listening to music, music-making, or both. Music-making is a healthy way of expressing yourself.

Why It Is Done

You can use music therapy to help your mental and physical health. It helps people express themselves, find new memories, and calm the body and mind through its rhythm, order, and predictability. Music therapy is sometimes combined with movement therapies, such as dance.

Music therapy:

  • May decrease forgetfulness (dementia) by:
    • Improving your connection to others.
    • Helping the brain produce a calming substance (melatonin).
    • Improving how well you speak.
    • Improving long-term and medium-term memory.
  • May help children deal with necessary but painful procedures. Crying is often affected by music.
  • Is used to reduce the pain of cancer treatment.

How Well It Works

Research is beginning to reveal how music works to heal the body and mind.footnote 1 The rhythm and tone of music can excite you or relax you. Music therapy can help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and increase your ability to think, learn, reason, and remember.

Risks

Music therapy is considered safe. Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

References

Citations

  1. Freeman L (2009). Physiologic pathways of mind-body communication. In L Freeman, ed., Mosby's Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach, 3rd ed., pp. 1–29. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

Credits

Current as of: March 17, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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