Published: 09/16/2013 - Updated: 12/11/2016
Music has been part of humanity for thousands of years for the purpose of entertainment; it is the perfect complement in plays, films, festivals and all manner of other ceremonies. However, music can also be used for therapeutic purposes: it can help us to relax, to enhance our concentration and also has the ability to alter our emotional state, change our attitude and bring peace and harmony to our being. Some people even claim that music can be considered medicine for the soul.
What is music?
Originated in sound waves, music is usually defined as a collection of sounds that follow an order to create a harmonious melody and rhythm. Music only exists in our brain, because technically they are just vibrations in the air, so if our brain does not interpret it as a sound then technically it wouldn’t be "heard" as such.
The music can also be seen on our skin and body as vibrations. If we approach loud speakers that emit low-frequency sounds, these vibrations are usually very strong and easily detectable.
Music therapy and sound therapy
Both music therapy and sound therapy rely on rhythmic vibrations known as music to improve our overall health, whether it is a physical or emotional problem. There are some aspects in which music therapy can promote healing.
It is proven that music can activate certain areas of our brain. Auditory stimuli and rhythmic sound patterns can activate certain areas of neurons resulting in positive effects for people who have been affected by a stroke or Parkinson's disease. Also, thanks to tools like magnetic resonance there is necessary scientific evidence to prove this fact.
Music therapy today is recognised as a scientific discipline, as it may cause physiological changes in the body and produce positive effects as a result, which in turn can result in improved health.
In some hospitals, there are rooms with massage chairs that are fitted with hearing aids so that patients can listen to a selection of music that induces relaxation. The use of these computers is part of the protocol for some post and pre-operative processes.
Music therapy and sound therapy can be used in treatment of addictions, neurosis, depression, for stress-related diseases, contractures, and disorders as a result of emotional imbalances. Every person and condition is different and may react more or less sensitively to music therapy. For some, improvements in health will be evident after a few sessions, while others may not find any significant improvement at all.
Note that the effectiveness of music therapy and sound therapy involves several aspects such as the selection of melodies, the therapist and patient. Everything influences its effectiveness and so the patient must trust and follow the instructions of the therapist, as this facilitates the process.
Many have said that music therapy is appropriate for all people as it has no side effects, however, this is wrong. In some people, music therapy can induce seizures, although the probability is low. It is always advisable to consult an expert for advice before embarking on any kind of holistic or alternative therapies.
For people who have a history of seizures, you should refer to your doctor before conducting music therapy.
As neuroscience advances, we can also learn the specific effects that music has on our body. However, one thing is clear: Music is more than a simple "form of entertainment". Music has become a useful tool for healing and even the treatment of some diseases.