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July 14, 2008


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Great article. Music can be very relaxing and can definitely take your mind of things to keep you going.Thanks for the info.

I just wanted to thank you for this informative article and also to thank Shoshanna (and others) for her comments regarding the use of music for autistic children and people with Parkinson's disease. As a music composer, I hold music therapy in high regard, and I'm always delighted (and amazed) to discover new ways that it is used to heal and inspire people. It really is extraordinary.

This is an interesting article. Many people do not know that music can be used in such a way, even though it is part of everyday life. This would be a great natural anxiety cure once more studies are done.

I definitely agree that music is the ultimate healing tool for depression and anxiety because whenever I'm feeling stressed out, music (especially some classical music) always seems to sooth me and make me feel a lot more relaxed. There's nothing like the feeling of sitting back with your feet up and your head to the sky while listening to some very soulful music.

Music for anxiety relief, that's an interesting thought.
I have to agree with Tess@Childhood Depression. I've noticed that at Mcdonald's, as well as in shopping malls.

Well, I think this is correct. We work with children who suffer from depression, and it is plain to see that different types of music will affect their state of well being. Classical (even though a lot of them hate it) is very good for calming them down, and it has also been proven that Mozart can actually help the brain retain information. We have been playing this to them in the background during lessons and it has been helping with the retention of facts.

Food chains have been using music for there own gains for years. Listen to the music that is played in McDonald's or any other fast-food chain, and you will find at the busier times it is fast music, and at the slower times it is slow music. This is because we eat to the same speed as the music. Eat quicker at busy times to give tables to others who are queued up waiting, and eat slower at not-so-busy times to keep people in and make others come in. How many times have you gone to the busier restaurant on holidays due to the fact that it was busier than the one across the road?

Music can, and does, help with depression, and the new biaural music is also helping to relax more people.

Music has the ability to place us into trance states where we become more suggestible. We can then use the power of our imagination to create desired change, bypassing the critical faculty. It's great to see some research showing the effectiveness of music. Thanks.

Anxiety disorders are a unique group of illnesses that fill people’s lives with persistent, excessive and unreasonable anxiety, worry and fear. They include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and specific phobias. Although anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions, they are treatable.

An anxiety disorder and a co-occurring chronic pain disease can make a person’s health more difficult to treat, but a variety of treatments and lifestyle changes can offer relief. Possible health complications are noted below:
• Increased disability or reduced functioning
• Poorer quality of life
• Poorer response to treatment
• Poorer treatment adherence
• Increased perception of disease severity

Source: chronic-anxiety.com

I totally agree. In my practice, I use sound therapies to even treat autism and inner ear problems. Music (classical) is like a medicine for the ear and ultimately the body. Take a neuroscience course and you'll agree!

Apart from being used as a treatment for depression and anxiety, music can cure insomnia and is a very effective stress buster.

It's true.Music Therapy is one of the method to reduce Depression and Anxiety.Thanks for the post.

Here is an interesting article about how music therapy helps stroke patients recover, (http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/healthteam/story/1691242/)

I think Tara brought up a very point about laughing. I don’t deny all the things that music can do to us. However, laughter, on the other hand, is a great way to relieve stress. We have this saying where I come from. It goes, "One smile/laughter is equal to ten vitamin/supplement doses." I found this to be very true.

Listening to you favorite music choice has been revealed to decrease tension, aid in blood pressure reduction and promote feelings of harmony. Furthermore, laughing also helps treat depression and anxiety. As a result of listening to funny, light-hearted songs, your stress hormones, adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol, are known to reduce considerably. Laughter is also known to demonstrate a benefit on your immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer T-cells, which are the first line of defense against viral attacks. In summary, try and find the humor in life’s daily activities to enhance your overall sense of well-being, reduce daily anxiety and ultimately prevent depression.

Music is the international language! Every nation has its own musical expression, and there really are no political borders when it comes to appreciating the various emotions it represents. I think that music is the one art form that is closest to the human emotions. The vibrations register joy or sadness, or calm, and so on. So, it makes sense that music can be therapeutic. If I am feeling anxious, I feel calmed by classical music. I think it changes the way I breathe. Even if I only think about the Moonlight Sonata, I can hear it in my head and feel myself de-stress! That’s magic!

What a wonderful way to help the healing process! And no side effects!

As therapeutic as it may be to listen to music, I think there is even greater benefit in moving to music. When an individual is depressed, there is a sense of hopelessness, and within that, a feeling of helplessness. Music can be a way of turning outward from that inward isolated mental place. By dancing in an unrehearsed self-expressive way the person creates a unity between his/her body and the music. First and foremost, it gets them out of their heads. This could be a very meaningful activity. And activity is the key word here. They are moving and aligning themselves to the external music. In expressing themselves physically, they begin the process of self-empowerment.

I've always known just as a matter of common sense that music can influence a person's mood. For instance, that's why so many housewives play some peppy music when they have a tedious chore to perform. However, I was a bit surprised to find that I cry when listening to a particularly beautiful song that is sung in a language that I don't even understand (in this case, Italian). I'm not depressed or thinking sad thoughts when hearing this song; I simply find it very moving for some reason.

Also, there's probably some correlation between the soothing effects of music and the effect that petting an animal has on lowering a person's blood pressure.

In addition, I was totally unaware and am glad to learn that the profession of music therapist exists.

Lastly (and a bit off the subject) documentaries have shown that elephants are extremely intelligent, and they have an actual language, and their sounds are transmitted at decibels lower than what the human ear picks up. So it's not surprising that music would have a pronounced effect on them.

An aside: There is a true story of a circus elephant who would lift out of the ground the stake to which she was chained, walk over and drink the lemonade from the filled cups (that were normally well out of her reach), and then return to her area and reinsert the stake in the ground. She would stand by innocently while the circus employees would try to figure out what had happened to all the lemonade, and this went on for months until someone caught the elephant in the act.

I think if you just set aside a music session with yourself to delve deeper into your inner being you will be able to truly benefit from your own sort of therapy. Just let lose and let your emotions flow freely. I find if I shut the lights off, turn up the stereo and let the music reach into my soul, all I have to do is listen to the lyrics and my own emotions. As stated by Enrique Iglesias song, Rhythm Divine, “All I need is the rhythm divine, lost in the music your heart will be mine…gotta have this feeling forever.”

As Sobo said, music is a universal language. Everyone can listen and enjoy it. During massages or acupuncture sessions, music is always playing. The reason is because it helps patients relax their minds and bodies, which leads to decreased feelings of depression and anxiety.

Music is the universal language. We may not understand other languages from different countries but we certainly can enjoy their music. Music is a way to connect people. Medicinally, music is the way to connect within one self. Together, one feels the sense of completeness through music.

It is good to learn that the old notion that music "soothes the savage beast" is being verified. When I worked in therapeutic recreation at a retirement home, music was a very prominent part of the program: live music performances, sing-alongs, viewing opera videos, etc. The residents would be "lifted" by these activities, as was I. I think part of the appeal is the nostalgic quality of the material.

On the other hand, I am convinced that the music vibrations also correlate with our own vibrations. It is a matter of energy finding like energy, which is why some music is healing, and other music can be jarring. It just depends on where the individual is at internally, their vibratory level and that of the music. If they are in sync, the results are wonderful!

I believe that music facilitates communication in those who are in a state of depression and feel a sense of withdrawal from the world around. I think the subliminal messages in music lyrics engage listeners in a positive way by opening up their minds to another beginning. I love to listen to music because it allows me to sing and dance out my frustrations, as well as assure myself that I am not the only one going through a certain situation.

I just have to share this story I read in the news two years ago:


Music soothes the pachyderm

Agence France-Presse
Zagreb, June 29, 2006
First Published: 00:00 IST(13/1/2007)

(AFP) Suma, a 45-year-old elephant and long-time resident of the Zagreb Zoo, was bereaved and inconsolable after her pachyderm partner of tens years died of cancer.

Until she heard Mozart.

"Suma became very depressed after her roomie Patna died in early May," head of Zagreb Zoo Mladen Anic told AFP on Thursday.

"She was refusing to eat, became uncommunicative, showed all the signs of a serious depression."

Then, by sheer accident, Suma's keepers discovered that the healing power of Mozart extends to the animal kingdom too.

Earlier this month, the zoo the zoo organized a concert of classical music just opposite Suma's dwelling, Anic explained.

At the sight of five musicians preparing themselves to start a concert, Suma became very nervous and aggressive, peppering the intruders with little stones that she blew out of her trunk.

"But as soon as the concert started what we saw was really fascinating. Suma leaned against the fence, closed her eyes and listened without moving the entire concert," he said. Besides Mozart, she took in pieces by Vivaldi and Schubert too.

When zoo authorities realized that classical music seemed to help Suma cope with her grief, they bought a stereo and installed it so she could get a daily dose of music therapy.

The elephant especially adores Mozart, Anic said, but is also partial to the strains of Vivaldi and Bach.

"We are so glad that we can provide -- at what is a rather advanced age for elephants -- things that Suma really enjoys," Anic said.

I found this to be quite obvious. I am a music person. I have to listen to music while doing pretty much everything. It gives me the energy to do things, let’s put it that way. Thus, I am not surprised to learn about music therapy. I think life would not be completed without music.

I'm not surprised by this. From my own experiment, listening to piano relieves stresses and helps me think better. Music is multi-lingual because everyone in the world can listen to it, and yet it has no side effects!

I am interested in learning more about solfeggio, an ancient way of tuning. Apparently, it was stopped by the catholic church. Is that true? There are healing qualities to the music played.

I didn’t know the origin of music therapy but am not surprised at the positive response people had to it. In its original state, I wonder how much of the positive effect was the response of veterans to the fact that individuals took the time to visit and perform for them. In general, music has an amazing capacity to evoke emotion, to soothe and to influence feelings of well being. Music may also have regulatory effects on the brain. Oliver Sacks, who wrote “The man who mistook his wife for a hat,” has a relatively new book out that chronicles some of his experiences with the use of music in a clinical setting. For example, listening to music apparently reduced the tremors associated with some neurological disorders.

Music therapy has been effective for language therapy in autistic children, partly because it is a nonverbal and non-threatening form of communication. These children can use a familiar beat to learn meanings of words and concepts that may otherwise elude them. In The publisher’s blurb on Oliver Sacks’ recent book, Musicophilia, says that “Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson's disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer's or amnesia.” If music can do all these things, there’s every reason to think it can help with depression and anxiety.

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