Everyone has turned on the radio to hear their favorite song and immediately started singing along. Catchy tunes help us get up, get going, and stay motivated. Music has the power to invoke emotion, instantly impacting the way we feel. In fact, trained professionals use music therapy to promote emotional, physical, cognitive, and social healing in patients. At Life Enrichment Center, music therapy is used to manage pain, promote heart health, and treat depression and anxiety.
Meet Hannah-Full Time Music Therapist of Life Enrichment
Opioid pain relievers get the brain to release oxytocin to lower the sensation of pain. However, due to the opioid epidemic, more physicians and patients are opting for alternative pain management options, and studies have shown that the brain responds to music in a similar way as it does to opioids. Swedish researchers found that the brain naturally increased oxytocin levels while music played during open heart surgery. Music also activates the brain’s reward center, triggering the release of dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemical. Another study by Drexel University found that music therapy reduces pain in cancer patients while improving their mood and reducing their anxiety.
Good tunes also promote heart health: music has been found to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A study by Japanese researchers of elderly dementia patients confirmed this by finding that music helped decrease sympathetic activity, promoting a slowed heart rate and relaxation. This means music therapy is a helpful tool in dementia care, as well. Another study, this one by Massachusetts General Hospital, found that music reduced stress and anxiety among bedridden patients—beneficial for not only their heart health but also their mental and emotional health.
Depression and Mental Health
Music can move people, so it’s no surprise that music therapy can be used to address the mental and emotional needs of patients. Finnish researchers studied patients with depression who received either standard care or standard care plus music therapy. They measured patients’ levels of depression, anxiety, general functioning, and quality of life. They concluded that standard care plus music therapy was more effective at treating depression than standard care alone.
Learn More About Music Therapy
Life Enrichment Center uses music therapy and other specialty therapies to promote healing and enhance the quality of life for our clients. Many clients benefit from listening to and creating music, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and memory loss, as well as those with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. Contact a Life Enrichment Center location near you or call us at 704-484-0405 to learn more about specialty therapy programs for the adults we serve.