Music is more than just music

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Music therapy uses music to promote positive changes in the wellbeing of an individual. These positive changes may be manifested in changes in physical development, social and interpersonal development, emotional or spiritual wellbeing or cognitive abilities.

The therapeutic benefits of streamate music have been known and harnessed since ancient times. However, music therapy in modern times dates back to the World Wars when music was used in hospitals in the rehabilitation and recovery of soldiers who had suffered physical or emotional trauma. The University of Kansas was the first University in the United States to offer a livejasmin program in music therapy in 1944.

Early exponents of music therapy in the 1950's to 1970's included the French cellist Juliet Alvin and Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins. The Nordoff-Robbins approach is still used in many countries around the jasmin live world including the USA, UK, Australia, Germany and South Africa.

So, how does music therapy work?

Music is universal and connects across language barriers. Most people can respond to music in some way regardless of illness or disability.

Music has an inherent ability to generate a jasminlive emotional response in the listener. It stimulates a relaxation response which can therefore lead to physiological changes in the body. Music is known to reduce stress thereby producing related benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved respiration, reduced heart rate, better jasminelive performance and reduced tension in muscles.

Music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain and this stimulation has been shown to help in development of language and speech functions. It promotes socialization and development of communication, self expression and motor skills. Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder have been found to respond very positively to music and many of them display high levels of musical skill.

Music encourages verbal as well as non verbal communication and promotes social interaction and relatedness. It's a valuable outlet for self expression and creativity. It has also been successfully used in pain management by providing a distraction from the painful stimulus as well as a means of relaxation and stress alleviation.

Children with developmental and learning difficulties,children and adults with autism spectrum disorder or special needs as well as the elderly and dementia sufferers have all been shown to benefit from music therapy. Although the benefits of music therapy have been accepted intuitively and based on anecdotal evidence it wasn't till recently that quantitative evidence of its efficacy started to emerge.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine blood samples of a group of male Alzheimer's patients who were treated with music therapy were found to have significantly elevated levels of melatonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine which are chemicals which act on the brain to control mood, depression, aggression and sleep. The benefits of the therapy were still evident even six weeks after cessation of the therapy and in the case of melatonin the effects persisted even longer.

Music therapy is gaining wider acceptance in the general medical community and has certainly stood the test of time. Music therapists can now be found practicing in a variety of institutions dealing with mental health, developmental and early intervention programs, correctional institutions and special education programs to name but a few. Many are having success where traditional treatment methods have failed.

No more stress

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In this increasingly competitive world, one needs to excel in all areas of life in order to be able to survive. In the process of striving to be the best, often we try to flex ourselves too much, sometimes even beyond our natural capacities. As a result of too much stretching, we begin to feel stressed out and experience the numerous symptoms associated with stress. If this kind of stressful atmosphere or pressure ends in a short period of time then it is okay, but if the stressful atmosphere prevails for a prolonged period of time and shows no sign of ending, such as in a challenging career or a demanding job, then the high stress levels begin to take its toll on your health and overall being.

Stress can manifest itself in the form of speech difficulties, headaches, nail biting, hair loss, gastric problems, increased or decreased appetite, increased or reduced sleep, increased or decreased blood sugar levels, increased or decreased blood pressure, etc. It might even manifest itself in the form of trembling, constipation, sweating, nausea, cold hands or dryness of mouth. Stressed out people are often irritable, angry, depressed, with low-self esteem, impatient, anxious and always have a tendency to cry.

If you cannot eliminate the source of stress, like if you cannot quit the stressful job because you love the rewards associated with it (either in monetary terms or in terms of name and fame associated with the job or simply the experience and learnings associated with the job), then you will need to learn how to cope with this stressful work environment and the challenges associated with it.

There are many stress eradicators available in the market today. They rage from colorful dietary supplements (containing multivitamin, mineral and antioxidants) to the very expensive sauna baths, or cheaper holistic alternatives like meditation, Yoga and music therapy. Everyone loves some or the other form of music and therefore, any kind of relaxing music helps stressed out people to calm down, relax and heal their stress. One must opt for music with a cyclical pattern and a rhythm that is slower than their heart beat. While the music plays, you must take deep breaths until your breathing slows down and become more regular. It is more relaxing when you learn to concentrate on the silence between the notes.

It is always better to go for music that your brain is familiar with. You can even combine music with walking, jogging or aerobics to obtain double benefit. Musical forms of expression such as drumming give a vent to the stress built up within the mind. The healing power of music therapy helps regain the lost self-esteem, facilitates expression and communication, thereby allowing social ties to develop. Gradually, both the emotional as well as physical signs of stress are erased with prolonged use of music therapy.

No more pain

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Although music therapy has been in existence for many years, it is only now after a large number of people have admitted to have seen their near and dear ones getting benefited from this form of therapy that people are getting to know about it and accepting it more readily than ever before. This therapy is known to improve the cognitive abilities of a person, communication skills, ability to socialize, and even improve motor skills and emotional development. It also aids in boosting self-confidence, increasing attention span, improving self-esteem, enhancing listening skills, and most importantly, it aids in developing non-verbal communication and self expression. Apart from all these benefits, this therapy has another very important benefit -- it aids in pain management.

Current research demonstrates and supports the effectiveness of music therapy as an innovative noninvasive therapy for healing procedural, acute and chronic pain. The positive effects of this therapy range from sense of immense relaxation to a sense of intense joy, a feeling of absolute peace and comfort, and an overall sense of well-being. As evidences of its authenticity and effectiveness are growing, more and more hospitals across the globe are considering including music therapy as an additional postoperative therapeutic measure.

Pharmacologic interventions are accompanied by multiple side effects that slow down the process of recovery. However, non-pharmacologic non-invasive interventions such as music therapy and other forms of relaxation techniques are immensely helpful and effective in hastening the process of recuperation. Providing music therapy to patients is a very good option because everyone enjoys some or the other form of music. Therefore, this therapy provides a cure along with fun and aids in complete relaxation, the key to early recovery. Music is soothing to the ears and provides comfort, as well as the much required distraction from the sensation of pain apart from regulating the blood pressure and respiratory rates.

Apart from reducing the perceived intensity of pain, music also reduced the sense of loneliness that the hospital environment can create in the patient's mind. Soothing music can ease out the feelings of fear, apprehension, anxiety and stress. As a result, the patient requires less dosage of pain killers and even the recovery is quicker. Fast music on the other hand serves to induce responses like tapping of feet and fingers, or humming, which can be physically and psychologically encouraging. Whichever kind of music is employed to elicit the desired effect, the beneficial impacts serve to hasten the rehabilitation process.