It's interesting to note that there's an increase in the use of music therapy because of its effectiveness in treating a wide variety of medical conditions including stress, depression, cancer, dementia. Parkinson's, ADD, blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, and anxiety reduction during surgery.
As the use of music therapy
has grown, it's frequently also combined with other forms of therapy such as aroma therapy, holistic massage, medication, physical therapy, and dance therapy.
We find the earliest reference to music therapy in 1789 when it was mentioned in an unsigned article that appeared in Columbian Magazine titled "Music Physically Considered." Additional medical information was published about the therapeutic value and benefits of music in the early 1800s.
In that same time period, we find the development of the first recorded music therapy intervention within an institutional setting at Blackwell Island in New York. Blackwell Island. known as Welfare Island from 1921 to 1973, was purchased by New York City in 1828. It's now known as Roosevelt Island,
There was also the first recorded systematic experiment in music therapy to alter dream states during psychotherapy.
Research studies show that upbeat music can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat. The result being a sharper state of concentration and mental alertness. Music with a slower, relaxed tempo promotes a meditative state. For people suffering from bradykinesia, which is a decrease in spontaneity and movement as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, the benefits of music are very positive.
Dr. Oliver Sacks ("Awakenings"):
Dr. Sacks reports that patients with neurological disorders who cannot talk or move are often able to sing, and sometimes even dance, to music. Its advocates say music therapy also can help ease the trauma of grieving, lessen depression and provide an outlet for people who are otherwise withdrawn.
- ST. Louis Post Dispatch.
More on Music Therapy Research
For information about interdisciplinary music therapy research, the Manfred and Penny Conrad Institute
for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR)
offers a rich forum that bridges clinical practice, research, and provides opportunities for collaboration.
Music truly is a universal language that appeals to adults, children, and even pets. Treasure this wonderful gift.