Music therapy, which is also known as active music therapy or passive music therapy, can be used to treat motor control problems and emotional impairment that is associated with a range of diseases and disabilities. Music has a strong and immediate influence over emotions and has been used in therapy since time immemorial. It helps to naturally increase the neuro-chemicals in our body that aid in elevating our mood. Music therapy has helped people with complex problems like schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease and also helps to decrease symptoms like depression and anxiety. It also aids in improving cognitive function.
It is based on the use of music by a therapist and a patient and this is done in a one-on-one setting or in a group. There are two types of music therapy: active music therapy and passive music therapy. There is active interaction between the therapist and patient in active music therapy. In case of passive music therapy, the patient normally remains at rest and listens to what the therapist tells him/her.
There are five different conditions for which music therapy has proved to be effective. The different conditions include autism, dementia and depression. Music played to the womb during late pregnancy help the newborn to be less agitated and more relaxed. Music therapy can also help to improve sleep quality.
A music therapy session can be broadly divided into active and receptive techniques. Active techniques generally involve making music by chanting, singing, playing musical instruments or even composing or improvising music. The techniques used in receptive treatment include listening to and responding to music – through dance or by analyzing the lyrics of a song. Both active and passive techniques are combined to treat a person and they are usually used as the point of initiation of the whole treatment.
Music therapy helps to increase a person’s self-awareness and expression, stimulation of speech, self-acceptance, motor integration, improve communication and relationships with others and also help to imbibe a sense of belonging. Different individuals have different tastes in music and respond differently to different forms of music. Therefore therapists try to make sure that the melody as well as the lyrics of a selected song match with the psychological state and mood of the patient. Another essential component of music therapy involves composing original songs or even modifying already existing ones.
Music therapy helps a person to communicate using short phrases or singing words if he/she has trouble with communication due to a physical ailment. This therapy also helps a person having problems with movement to initiate, coordinate and finally time their movements. Music also helps children who suffer from autism. Group therapy not only helps a person to relax but also provides an outlet for pent-up feelings and also helps to improve the feeling of social connectedness among the members.
A person suffering from serious ailments like Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s will derive some benefits from music therapy. Furthermore, people suffering from depression, mood-related concerns, substance dependency, autism, personality issues, insomnia and dementia are eligible for treatment. People can find relief from physical and psychological ailments by practicing music therapy. It is extremely beneficial for those who find it difficult to express themselves verbally. People normally manifest more interest in this therapy than in any traditional therapy.
There is no hard and fast rule which determines who is eligible and who is not eligible for music treatment. People suffering from serious and psychiatric issues should consult a doctor and undertake alternate therapy. This is because music therapy may not be able to treat their condition effectively. So people suffering from serious ailments are not eligible for this treatment.
There are no such side-effects of music therapy for the brain. However, if treatment is done with music that does not suit the psychology or mood of the patient, a person’s mental disorder may worsen. Listening to loud music for a long period of time may cause hearing impairment.
There are no such post-treatment guidelines for music therapy. This is a therapy that mostly helps to deal with psychiatric and psychological disorders. People can continue with music therapy if they feel that they are benefitting from it. However, they may also need to go for alternate treatment to treat a chronic condition as music therapy does not completely eradictae the problem.
Music therapy uses music in an active or in a passive manner to deal with psychological conditions and even physical ailments. The time to recover depends on the type and severity of the ailment. A person with impaired motor skills may gradually respond to music therapy. A child suffering from autism will also take some time to respond to music therapy. Some people may experience some benefits faster than others. So it is difficult to pinpoint the exact recovery period.
Music therapy involves going to a therapist for a one-on-one session or taking part in a group therapy session. However, several music CDs are also available that help one to undertake this therapy at home only. CDs are available within a price range of Rs 100 – Rs 500. However, music therapy sessions to treat a particular condition can cost a person around Rs 200000.
Music therapy helps to control the symptoms of a particular ailment but does not actually treat it. A person may benefit from music therapy as long as he/she is undergoing the therapy. He/she might need to adopt alternative measures if he/she suffers from a chronic ailment or from some serious disease. However, children with autism and other people who have problems in expressing themselves may experience some permanent results by continuously undertaking music therapy.
Music therapy is itself an alternative mode of treatment. This is a unique treatment and there are no such alternatives to it.