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What Are the Benefits of Music Therapy?

Music therapy might help those with mental illnesses, such as depression.
Listening to music may help promote relaxation and healing.
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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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The benefits of music therapy include greater relaxation, concentration, cognitive improvements and relief from some mental illness symptoms. Soft and slow music is often soothing and relaxing, helping mitigate physical conditions that can be aggravated by greater stress. Some individuals who have autism or attention disorders experience greater focus when listening to music. People who have mental illnesses characterized by depression or anxiety often experience more balanced moods after music therapy. Music therapy also has been used to improve cognitive challenges of the elderly.

Stress reduction is among the many benefits of music therapy. Listening to music can result in greater relaxation. The enjoyment of listening to music releases endorphins that help reduce stress and contribute to greater calmness. Improved sleep and enhanced productivity also have been associated with listening to music.

The benefits of music therapy extend to heart patients, many of whom exhibit a decreased number of cardiac complications. Listening to music that has slow and soft beats can reduce blood pressure and slow the heart rate. Less pain and a decreased need for oxygen also have been observed in patients after music therapy sessions.

Surgical patients also benefit from music. Anxiety reduction, a decreased need for anesthesia during procedures and a reduced need for medication following surgery are among the observed benefits. In the operating room, surgeons also benefit from music that relaxes them and allows them to concentrate on the procedure.

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The benefits of music therapy also apply to autistic patients. Normal brain cells rely on natural rhythms to generate brain responses. Autistic patients generally experience less of this natural brain rhythm. Music helps people with this condition by organizing brain stimuli into a more consistent pattern.

Individuals who have attention deficit disorders also experience the benefits of music therapy. Strong, rhythmic beats accelerate brainwaves in some people who have these disorders. Greater concentration, stronger performance on cognitive tests and a reduction in behavioral issues have been observed in young boys who have attention deficit disorder and who have undergone music therapy.

Some people who suffer from a mental illness also experience relief from music therapy. Bipolar patients sometimes experience greater balance in moods after listening to music. Music lifts the mood in many depressed patients. Schizophrenic patients often exhibit greater understanding of the context and intent in conversations after listening to music.

Music also helps elderly people who have cognitive issues. New sounds and stimuli increase blood flow in the brain. After listening to music, some older adults exhibit better performance on cognitive tests.

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