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October 13, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Music Therapy for Overall Health

By Helen More Blogs by This Author

Humans use sounds for all manner of expression and communication. From infancy, humans respond exceedingly well to soft spoken words and sounds, such as the vibration of a mother humming, or an older child who learns to sing softly to herself as she plays. Since humans are vocal beings, the assumption must be made: Mankind has been aware of the benefits of sound since the time vocalization began. It didn't take long to realize that if music could soothe the savage beast, invoke the spirit world, enhance a celebration, and seal a vow as well as create a sense of togetherness, it was also a form of healing.

Music - both vocalization and music created by using instruments - combines the mind and body and actually has the ability to help heal individuals who suffer from social, emotional, physical, and mental discomfort.

How Music Therapy Is Applied

People of any age, whether healthy or suffering from developmental or physical disabilities, mental disorders, age related conditions, chronic pain, or just about any other condition or disorder, can benefit from music therapy. The patient does not have to be musically inclined or have the ability to sing a solitary note.

Music therapy is implemented by and through the use of listening to various types of music, designed for each individual case, or creating and composing music, discussing lyrics, and/or writing lyrics. Through the use of music and its various components, patients have been helped significantly by reducing rapid heart beat, lowering blood pressure, alleviating stress and nausea, and by enriching quality of life. Music therapy has been used to help cancer patients, mothers during delivery, as well as individuals with depression and other mental disorders.

Board Certified Music Therapists

While the idea that an individual could benefit from music therapy dates back to the time of Plato and Aristotle, it has only been used extensively in the United States since 1944. At that time, Michigan State University implemented the first undergraduate program music therapy program followed up by a graduate program at the University of Kansas. To become a music therapist in the United States one must:

  • complete basic collegiate coursework
  • complete a six-month or 1,040 hour music therapy internship
  • pass a board examination
  • graduate from an accredited college of university
  • possess an understanding and knowledge of music as well as psychology, therapy, anatomy, physiology, biological, social and behavioral sciences, and disabilities


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