The Incredible Mental Health Benefits of Music Therapy

A multi-ethnic group of young school children are indoors in their classroom. Their teacher is watching them playing instruments together. The instruments include drums, maracas, and a guitar.

Music is a language that is loved universally. Have you seen the light in a child’s eyes when you play a beautiful or familiar song?  Have you ever played a specific song to get you pumped up before a big sports event? Have you listened to soothing music to calm your child before bed? If so, you have engaged in your own form of music therapy!

Music has a way of helping us express emotions that sometimes we do not even understand ourselves, just like how some song lyrics put your feelings into words we cannot express.

You may be surprised to learn that the benefits of music therapy have been researched for decades. Clinical studies have shown that music therapy can be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, sleep disorders (like insomnia), and emotional regulation disorders.

 

Emotional Regulation and Mood Disorders

Listening to music can help you regulate your mood because music is repetitive and engages the neocortex of the brain. Science has proven that music releases mood-enhancing chemicals into our bodies.

One of those chemicals is dopamine. Dopamine is released while listening to music, which helps us feel good and encourages us to continue those activities to achieve that feeling. The other chemical released is endorphins; endorphins give a person a happy state of mind and a sense of euphoria.

 

Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. (ADAA.org). The good news is anxiety disorders are highly treatable. The bad news is that only 36.9% of those suffering seek treatment. (Also ADAA.org)

Fortunately, music therapy can be beneficial for treating anxiety and stress. Creating or listening to music also lowers the level of cortisol in our bodies dramatically, which decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. In turn, this reduces our feelings of anxiety and stress. Case studies have shown that patients who received music therapy for their anxiety felt less anxious and more relaxed by the end of the session.

 

Depression

It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. In fact, nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Worldwide, 322 million people live with depression (Our World Data). Pretty staggering numbers, right?

Music therapy seems to reduce depressive symptoms and helps to improve functioning (for example, maintaining involvement in jobs, activities, and relationships). When used in tandem with talk therapy sessions, it seems to be particularly successful.

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) cites over a dozen studies that support the use of music therapy for individuals experiencing depression. Some of the documented outcomes from music therapy include:

  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Enhanced interpersonal relationships
  • Increased motivation
  • Successful and safe emotional release

The Healing Power of Music is Unlike any Other Form of Treatment

Music therapy is a combination of the art of music and intervention treatment (psychology). It is the only sensory medium that can activate all areas of the brain at the same time, which triggers the development of new neuropathways for healing and wellness. At Athena Music and Wellness, our music therapy treatments are personalized and expansive, which helps patients see benefits faster and makes treatment more effective than treatment without music.

If you are interested in learning more about our music therapy courses and how our world renowned instructors have helped hundreds of individuals and families live a better life through music therapy, please feel free to contact us.

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