The benefits of music therapy

Listening to an upbeat song can raise your spirits, remind you of happier times and shift your attention from the negative to the positive. Music speaks to the soul and the human experience, and connects people from all walks of life through shared emotions. With all the incredible power of song, it’s no wonder that music therapy is an effective way to improve senior’s overall health and wellness.

Music and mood 
For some, it’s easy for the stresses of daily life to affect their mood. These little stresses can add up and take a toll on overall health, especially for individuals who suffer from a chronic medical condition that may affect their mobility. According to Sarahrose Black, a licensed music therapist, music therapy can help reduce anxiety, depression and stress, improving overall health and quality of life for seniors in particular.

“I provide music therapy to help manage pain, anxiety and other symptoms, to promote relaxation; to aid in the regulation of breathing, blood pressure and heart rate; to improve mood, to allow creative self-expression, and to facilitate communication,” Black told The Globe and Mail.

Listening to music can be incredibly beneficial for overall health and well-being.

The Flameborough Review also notes that listening to music can help shift negative thinking patterns. Anxiety can be difficult to handle for some, negative thoughts reinforcing pathways in the brain. However, humming along to an upbeat song can help break this cycle and steer the brain toward a happier, healthier path.

While listening to music daily is a healthy habit to adopt for those who suffer from frequent stress or bouts of anxiety, the effects of music therapy can be immediate. Just listening to an upbeat song can help you see the world in a more positive light and face your day with a smile.

Music and pain management
The constant or regular pain that accompanies many medical conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, can also be eased through music therapy. A study conducted by Rachael Finnerty at Anglia Ruskin University found that music therapy provides a healthy distraction to physical pain through its ability to block pain messages, and that this distraction also reduces the impact of the side effects of pain medication. Music therapy also affects people’s perceptions of pain by improving their overall mood.

Music and cognitive health
Music is strongly associated with memories; hearing just a few notes of a certain song can call to mind a first dance, a beloved family member or a favourite vacation spot. Because of the powerful associations that are formed with music, music therapy can help improve memory and communication, according to the University of Windsor.

In fact, the effects of music therapy can be so powerful that it can help ease the anxiety of those living with Alzheimer’s disease. A study by geriatric researchers at Landspitali University Hospital in Iceland found that music therapy can treat anxiety and agitation in people who have moderately severe and severe Alzheimer’s.