Since 2005, Slovakia has been experimenting with the effects of music therapy. One and two day old babies listen to classical music through headphones (and mighty large ones, I may add) as part of the program. Doctors believe that music therapy helps newborns reduce stress and stay healthy. The newborns receive five sets of 20-minute sessions each day.
What is it about music that evokes emotion? And what goes on in such a session?
There’s also news that listening to classical music is nonsense! “Being force-fed classical music and foreign languages does not make a child genius. In fact, it can lead to anxiety and aggression,” says author Carl Honoré.
So what is the truth?
In 2007, the German research ministry finally commissioned a team to investigate. Their conclusion was that even if listening to Mozart does boost spatial-temporal reasoning (and not all studies have shown this), the effect lasts no more than 20 minutes.
And yet music is seen to be therapeutic and is being used to treating both children and adults. Why does music affect how we feel? Research shows that music therapy is associated with a decrease in depression, improved mood, and a reduction in state anxiety. How can we use music to calm and relax?
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is the use of music interventions by a trained professional to achieve therapeutic goals such as motor skills, social development, cognitive development or self-awareness.
Developmental work also includes helping individuals with special needs, keeping the minds of the elderly awake by listening to songs of their time, relaxation work and rhythmic exercise for those in need of physical rehabilitation.
Although art therapy is far more common, music therapy is now established as occupational therapy provided in hospitals.
Did you know?
- The use of music for those with arthritis provides opportunity for pain relief, anxiety and stress reduction and positive changes in both mood and emotional state.
- Study results, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (June 2006; Volume 54, Page 553), revealed a significant decrease in pain levels with music therapy. There was a 21 percent reduction in pain and a 25 percent reduction in depression associated with pain perception.
- Robert Burton wrote in the 17th century in his classic work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness, especially melancholia.\
- Music therapy is used to treat stroke patients as well.