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Therapeutic Effect of Music Argumentative Essay

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Introduction

It is not a new trend to use music therapy (MT) to enhance the functional recovery of patients suffering from various diseases and conditions in rehabilitation settings and hospitals. As put by Pfeifferand Sabe, MT is an evidence-based practice carried out by a professional music therapist who is a part of a multidisciplinary team. The interventions are performed in individual, group, or interdisciplinary forms (105). Most often, MT practices are used with patients with aphasia, neglect, amnesia, depression, breathing and consciousness disorders, balance and motor skills problems, etc.

Neurologic music therapists develop treatment plans for such conditions as cognitive, communication, and sensorimotor disorders. Finally, MT is a common practice employed to ease the pain of individuals in hospices. The effectiveness of MT has been studied and appreciated in most cases. However, there are still questions as for the value and the appropriateness of MT practices. 

Therapeutic Effect of Music Thesis statement

The paper investigates the issue of how exactly and with what conditions MT can be an effective therapeutic practice.

How Does It Work?

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According to Bell et al., MT is a controlled use of various types of music, classical in particular, and its effects on people in order to cause positive changes in physiology, behavior and emotional state (23).

Significantly, MT is usually a part of the broader treatment program. MT specialists work with patients of all age groups in mental health centers, hospitals, psychiatric settings, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and hospices. Finally, music therapists also work out a follow up progress plan for patients.

Here, it is important to understand how exactly music can influence body and mind of a patient. La Torre explains the significance of language and verbal communication in a therapy session: since language is the system people use to send and receive messages, it is also an intervention instrument to form the basis for much of the supportive change that is a result of the therapeutic relationship (44).

Underlying the described system of words is the sound which is often used to enhance the resonance between patients and therapists and to promote positive health change. The vibration of sound is powerful and touches every part of body meaning that sound is perceived with ears as well as skin and even bones and cells! So sound can be perceived as the form of energy which effects breathing.

Noticeably, when sound is well-mobilized, it has the power to synchronize the human body toward enhanced harmony and balance (La Torre 45). 

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Pfeiffer and Sabe talk about the effects of  neurologic music therapy (NMT); in fact, the NMT interventions are based on neurobiological principals of music effects on human nervous system (106). NMT specialists deal with specific neurological diseases symptoms; for example, singing, melodic intonation, and breathing exercises are applied to treat respiration and speech impairments caused by Parkinson disease, aphasia, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, etc. NMTs insist that rhythm plays an important role in motor rehabilitation and speech disorders. 

The Benefits of Music Therapy

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First of all, most specialists agree that MT is an effective practice to reduce the effect of stress on the etiology of disease. For instance, Pfeiffer and Sabe conducted a study using 4-th year college students who were allowed to choose a song to present during class.

The researchers found overall stress reduction in participants. Pfeiffer and Sabe stress out that listening to music can benefit everyone in a stressful situation (107).

Trythall points to the positive effects of the use of live music in hospitals: the practice allows humanizing the hospital community (100). In fact, the idea originates from 1946 initiative to give concerts to sick and wounded members of the armed forces in some of the military hospitals. Nowadays, it is a well-known and respected charity initiative with the mission to bring the joy and therapeutic benefits of high-quality live music to adults and children in hospitals, hospices, day care centers, special needs institutions, nursing and residential homes (Trythall 101).

One of the most important requirements for professional musicians is the ability to maintain eye contact which helps to sustain a sense of self and dignity in patients. 

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The article “Why Sweet Music Has the Power to Heal” highlights other benefits of MT among which are:

  • Reduced depression and anxiety- listening to favorite music can lift one’s mood. Particularly, soothing classical music was found to reduce depression by up to 25% (but any music can have a therapeutic effect if it is something the person enjoys).
  • Increased lung capacity–there is definite empiric evidence from the University of London on the positive health effects resulting from singing exercises during which a person uses more of total lung volume which gives more oxygen to a body. 
  • Decreased blood pressure – surprisingly enough, researchers claim that listening to the relaxing music may even cause the blood pressure to normalize, according to the findings from Harvard Medical School. Thus, those who exercise on treadmills and listen to music demonstrate less intensive heartbeat. Some other studies show that patients in intensive care units need lower doses of blood pressure-lowering drugs when MT practices are employed in the setting.
  • Calmer babies - classical music has soothing effect on unborn babies, some studies say.
  • The improvement of the emotional expression and communication skills.

Conclusion and Recommendations

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To sum up, current research appears to validate the view that MT interventions have positive effect on patients suffering from various disorders and impairments (depression, insomnia, speech and consciousness disorders, motor skills impairments, amnesia, etc.). Meanwhile, it is important to remember that when dealing with serious medical states, MT should be used as part of a more complex treatment plan. At the same time, the study shows that there is a need of a more methodological research on the use of MT and the specific role of particular interventions.

Additionally, recent findings prove that using music therapy is effective for short-term treatment sessions. Nevertheless, the studies proving the lasting impacts of the music therapy on individuals are few and further research is needed.  It is also recommended to conduct more detailed reports on characteristics of MT techniques, controlled groups, and diagnostic criteria.

Works Cited

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Bell, Taunjah P., Katharine A. McIntyre, and Rosamary Hadley. “Listening to Classical Music 
Results in a Positive Correlation between Spatial Reasoning and Mindfulness”.Psychomusicology, vol.26, no.3, 2016, pp.22-26.
La Torre, Mary Ann. “The Use of Music and Sound to Enhance the Therapeutic Setting”.
Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, vol. 39, no.3, 2003, pp.43-47.
Pfeiffer, Camila F., and Liliana R.Sabe. “Music Therapy and Cognitive Rehabilitation: 
Screening of Music Cognition in Adult Patients with Right Hemisphere Stroke”. Psychomusicology, vol. 25, no.4, 2015, pp.105-107.
Trythall, Susan J. S.“Live Music in Hospitals: A New 'Alternative' Therapy”.The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, vol.126, no.3, 2006, pp. 99-102.
“Why Sweet Music Has the Power to Heal”. The Mirror (London, England), 2010.