Music is good to the ears. But did you know that it could be therapeutic as well? Use music therapy to help yourself with a healthier life. – By manoj kumar
Urban population is increasingly reporting high levels of stress, courtesy the city humdrum, work or peer pressures. People are craving for breaks and wanting to head for a holiday, but tight work schedules aren’t giving them the space. It is at such times that alternate therapies such music therapy comes to the rescue by providing calmness to the mind, body and soul.
The concept of music therapy may seem new age for many. But if we look back in history, ancient Greeks believed in its healing properties. Music therapy these days is being used by alternative healing and certain medical centres as an addition to provide relief in pain and promote relaxation. We listen to music to feel good. It has been known to boost up mood and negative emotions. And, there are different types of music to suit everyone’s taste.
Music therapy is a discipline, which extensively uses the art to achieve therapeutic goals. Depending on a medical or stress-related situation, the therapy can help patients to enhance their social and communication skills, physical development and self-esteem.
- Therapy for everyone:
Music therapists work in various settings, including psychiatric hospitals, general hospitals, correctional facilities and nursing homes. “Music can quell anxiety and help you overcome the social disorders that you or your family might be suffering from,” says Khushi Chaudhary, a Delhi-based psychiatrist.
“Such awareness and cognitive recognition can then be applied in life situations outside of music therapy sessions with practice. Physical response-based music therapy can motivate a patient to complete or attempt physical movements that require more effort than is normally exerted,” she adds.
Talking about the therapists who practice on patients, Jhanvi Roy, a psychiatrist from Mumbai, says, “Music therapy is an allied health profession. It is a clinical practice which can be used to manage stress, pain relief, physical rehabilitation and attain enhanced communication.” In India, there are certain therapists who treat patients using music as the key tool. According to Jabalpur-based Dr Bhaskar Khandekar, one of the leading music therapists in the country, a large number of patients have benefited from hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, and other nervous disorders with its help.
Music therapy extensively uses instruments such as guitar and autoharp to treat people. Many music therapists play guitar to accompany songs used during the session. The guitar is a favoured instrument among music therapists because it is melodic and portable, unlike a piano or large keyboard. The patients, who do not have much knowledge about guitar, simply strum the strings while the therapist changes the chords.
- Variety galore:
Music therapy uses different types of music. For instance, if you are feeling sad, you can listen to sad music, which will help you in crying and draining out the pent up emotions. And after the session, a person definitely feels relaxed.
What’s more, you can also try music therapy in the comforts of your home. For this, you need to keep a collection of different genres of music. Whenever you are feeling blue, listen to rock and roll. And whenever you are feeling lonely, listen to those golden oldies.
Spend a few minutes at the end of every day tuning into your emotions by playing one of your favourite instrumentals, preferably classical or acoustic guitar. Close your eyes and imagine being in a place you’ve always wanted to visit, or a place you once visited where you’d like to return, and feel your stress dissolve.
“People can banish mild depression with nature’s sounds. So, listen to music of the soft chirping of birds, the rippling of a stream, swoosh of the waves splashing on to the shore and you will feel positive energies flowing within you. Music therapy also relieves nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy,” shares Roy.
Do you remember how your mother used to sing lullabies for you when you were a kid? That sound was enough to put you to sleep. That’s a classic example of music therapy.
HOW MUSIC CAN HELP:
1. From children to adults to senior citizens, music therapy can benefit people from all walks of life. The therapy is known to help children suffering from developmental disabilities, helping them by improving their cognitive and social skills, physical ability, communication and emotional stability. Music therapy can be a powerful tool in maintaining good health in such children. Today, the use of the therapy has spread beyond designated centres to operating rooms, bursing homes and neonatal units and homes.
2. The therapy is a boon for people suffering from depression. Highlighting on the subject, Delhi-based psychiatrist Khushi Chaudhary says, “Music therapy enables individuals with mental health conditions such as depression to become more aware of their feelings and get in tune with their emotions. It helps them experience positive mood changes. Music therapy largely keeps rhythm as its base to stimulate and organise muscle response. Music listened and performed can be altered to affect a patient’s mood during the therapy sessions. Therefore, music therapy is recommended for senior citizens, autistic children and pregnant ladies apart from those suffering from lower self-esteem, depression and stress.”
3. Talking about the benefits, Mumbai-based psychiatrist Jhanvi Roy says, “A music therapist provides treatment for the physical, emotional and mental issues of a patient through the specialised use of the art. The therapist first evaluates the emotional, physical and mental well-being of a patient through different musical processes and responses and then, prepares, organises, conducts and evaluates the music therapy sessions.”