How Music Helps You Heal

How Music Helps You Heal

Music is primal to life and expressed by each of us every day, whether through dancing to a favorite tune, keeping rhythm with a pencil, or remembering a special time when hearing a forgotten melody. It is central to our lives and is embedded in our culture, defining how we acknowledge milestones, rites of passage, and celebrations, as well as providing comfort, transformation, and inspiration. Music links us to our world and provides a pathway back to our past. A number of research studies have looked at the therapeutic use of music as an important adjunct to medical treatment and have found that music:

  • Promotes trust and safety
  • Promotes healing
  • Alleviates pain
  • Helps manage stress and anxiety
  • Helps with neurological impairments
  • Promotes socialization
  • Helps us communicate

Regarding music and dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music has power—especially for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. And it can spark compelling outcomes even in the very late stages of the disease. When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements. This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing. They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.

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Portions of this article were originally featured on blog.comforcare.com. The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.

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