Music therapy: why music is good for you and what it heals – Feel good

Of Georgia Martino

Primal, instinctive, innate, music already accompanies us in the mother’s womb, considering the various studies that show how the fetus reacts positively to the melodies heard by its mother. Sometimes just hearing a song is enough to release a suppressed cry or to feel happiness and motivation, just as a repetitive sound can irritate us or put us to sleep. Nature has its sounds, animals have calls that often sound a lot like songs, the Universe itself has its music.

Faced with the absolute naturalness of this expressive form, we cannot be surprised by the fact that music has a powerful healing power and restorative for our soul and body. Music therapy is not new: one of the earliest texts on the subject dates back to 1748, by Louis Rogera doctor from Montpellier who studied the effects of music on the human body.

To date, there are various training and specialization schools, open to specialists of various kinds, such as pedagogues, psychologists, neuropsychomotor specialists, musicians. From this we can conclude how wide is the scope of this important expressive treatment.

Psychotherapy and music therapy

Music therapy, which also heals our emotional side, is related to psychotherapy, but with necessary differences: “Both disciplines have therapeutic purposes in the human psyche and are both relational therapies,” says the doctor. Sarah Tilley, psychologist, psychotherapist and music therapist in Rome. “Therefore, they can be integrated, but they should not be confused: the music therapist is an operator, currently in Italy it is not yet recognized as “health care” compared to a psychologist, although he can also work in the field of rehabilitation and of health care, but must necessarily be part of a team in which there are doctors, psychologists or other personalities working in the specific field of health care or rehabilitation.

Why music therapy is effective

What makes music therapy so therapeutically powerful? “The correlation between music and emotions is certainly not a modern discovery. The first hypotheses date back to Plato, to the latest research in experimental psychology, supported by neuroscience technologies to measure brain activity,” explains Tilli. “Musical music is a particularly functional context for the expression of emotions and the activation of cognitive processing. Far from the pragmatism of verbal language, the musical framework corresponds more to the more instinctive and emotional nature of man.”

But be aware of the meaning of musical, as our expert explains to us: “When the term music is used in a music therapy context, it is used as a synonym for any sound, perceived or not, by the auditory system, which also records the related aspects of movement and of rhythm”.

What pathologies are treated with music therapy?

The spectrum of patients who can benefit from music therapy is wide and varied, with the necessary individualization of the therapeutic path, based on the goals you want to achieve and the initial pathology. In fact, our expert states that music therapy can intervene:

  • For educational and social purposes in school expressive workshops
  • In prenatal classes and pregnancy classes
  • As a support for normal aging
  • In rehabilitation centers for various disabilities
  • In mental health centers
  • In elderly care centers
  • In the wards for terminally ill patients
  • For childhood autism
  • For neuropsychological and neuromotor disorders
  • For senile dementia.

Patients benefit from it in various aspects, starting from psychological and social. “Music therapy can facilitate expression in people with communication deficitscreates the opportunity for positive social experiences, develops it self knowledge, others and the environment. It leads to an overall improvement, increases well-being and promotes greater independence,” explains Dr. Tilley.

But not only that: it is a discipline that can contribute many advantages at the neuromotor level and at the rehabilitation level: “For example, by singing very slowly and emphasizing the words, a patient with severe cognitive deficits can be stimulated to respond to the musical invitation. Or, by improvising a song that stimulates motor responses (such as ‘left’, ‘forward’, ‘down’, etc.) or that indicates body parts, people who have difficulties with coordination and body awareness can be helped. “

How a music therapy session works

Music therapy sessions can be individual or group. In addition, they differ based on two methods of intervention: active and receptive.

“The receptive methodology is based onlistening music and in their subsequent reprocessing,” explains Tilli. “While active is based on the activation and improvisation of the patient, on the observation of his physical-sound-musical productions and on the use of musical instruments through their direct manipulation”.

Apparently, it is clarified that one does not need to be a musician to conduct a music therapy session: “The instruments consist mainly of musical instruments that are easy to use, in the absence of specific musical ability, such as congas, bongos, xylophones, flutes, whistles and maracas.” Also in this case, therefore, give free rein to your instincts and creativity.

To find the right music therapist, you can turn to specific associations, such as AIM, the Italian Association of Music Therapy Professionals.

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