Music is Healing for all ages
Everyone from tiny infants to octogenarians experience little miracles everyday with the power of music. Some are healed, some are given a few moments of relief from pain, and others are comforted in passage to the beyond. We find this type of therapy in alternative health practices.
Unfortunately, our western medicine health care system has a hard time acknowledging the therapeutic benefits of music. There is much anecdotal evidence that music heals but medical establishments will argue that there isn’t scientific proof of the efficacy of music. Only about fifteen percent of American hospitals employ this method and it’s not covered by insurance.
Healing isn’t about science, it’s about people. Many people everyday are experiencing very real results from the healing power of music in relieving anxiety and stress. This is happening more often through the efforts of volunteers in hospices, senior centers, and in cancer wards and children’s wards. Stress is the number one indicator of heart attack or stroke over diet, family history and weight. That favorite CD might be doing more for us than we thought!
Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive ones. It consists of an interpersonal process where a trained music therapist uses music and all of its facets (physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual) to help clients improve or maintain their health across various domains such as cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, behavior and social skills, and quality of life. They use musical experiences like singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, and moving to music to achieve treatment goals and objectives. It is considered both an art and a science, with a qualitative and quantitative research base.
Music therapists are found in nearly every area of the healing professions. Some commonly found practices include developmental work like communication and motor skills of individuals with special needs, songwriting and listening in reminiscence/orientation work with the elderly, processing and relaxation work, and rhythmic entrainment for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims. Music therapy is also used in some medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools, alcohol and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities with great results.
The Journal of Advanced Nursing reports on a study:
“Effect of music on power, pain, depression and disability.” June, 2006
Researchers conducted a controlled clinical trial with 60 people who were recruited from pain and chiropractic clinics in Ohio. The participants were suffering from a range of painful conditions including osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis for an average of six and a half years.
• Participants were divided into three groups of 20.
• Two of the groups listened to music on a headset for an hour a day.
• The third group did not listen to music and served as the control group.
• All three groups kept a pain diary.
• The first music group chose their favorite music to listen to. Choices included pop, rock, slow, melodious and nature sounds.
• The second music group was given relaxing music selected by the researchers.
Before the study began, the participants reported their average pain to be just under six on a zero to ten scale, with their worst pain exceeding nine. Ninety percent experienced pain in more than one part of their body and 95 percent said their pain was continuous.
Results of the Study
• The music groups reported a 12 to 21 percent reduction in pain. The control group reported that their pain had increased by one to two percent.
• The music groups reported 19 to 25 percent less depression than the control group.
• The music groups reported feeling nine to 18 percent less disabled than the control group.
• The music groups felt they had five to eight percent more power over their pain than the control group.
In a press release after the study, Dr. Sandra L. Siedlecki, nurse researcher at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, stated, “Our results show that listening to music had a statistically significant effect on the two experimental groups, reducing pain, depression and disability and increasing feelings of power. There were some small differences between the two music groups, but they both showed consistent improvements in each category when compared to the control group.
“Non-malignant pain remains a major health problem and sufferers continue to report high levels of unrelieved pain despite using medication. So anything that can provide relief is to be welcomed.”
Co-author Professor Marion Good from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio added, “Listening to music has already been shown to promote a number of positive benefits and this research adds to the growing body of evidence that it has an important role to play in modern healthcare.”
Music for Life
My husband, a professional musician and entertainer, says music is his healing modality. “The music comes from my heart and when I’m hired to perform, folks of all ages smile and move to the beat. Their body’s frequency is raised through sounds resonating with musical notes bringing the listeners joy no matter what is going on in life.” Dave plays his music in Senior Centers and outdoor Concerts where there are many who come in with wheelchairs and walkers. “Some actually forget…get up and dance without the walkers. It’s wonderful to see.”
Going to concerts, the opera, symphony, ballet or any live musical venue is very uplifting for the spirit. This type of event can provide healing energy for your physical and emotional body as well. Try playing music in your home or car if you don’t already, to see if you feel a difference. Also, find some soft, relaxing music like you might experience when receiving a massage. Get in a quite place alone, put it on, close your eyes and use it as a meditation time.
No matter what type of music you enjoy and whether you play it soft or loud, try it sometime when you are feeling stressed, anxious or upset. I’d like to hear how your music therapy works for your personal healing. If you have questions or would like more information and ideas on how to use music for healing please come to this discussion group:
Join us on Wednesday, June 20th from 7:00 to 8:30 PM
2nd of a 12 month series on Heath and Healing
Sharon The Health presents -
Discussion of Music and Sound Healing
Special Guest, Dave Crimmen, Musician of 35 years
Florey’s Book Company
2120 Palmetto Ave.
Pacifica, CA 94044
RSVP SOON as space is limited! Call Sharon 650.359.6579
Or email Sharon@sharonthehealth.com
"The views expressed are those of the writer. If you have any questions about your health, you should always consult with your doctor.