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Music and the Mind: Mental Health in Music Therapy

Written by Mahee Mishra

Edited by Sharon Park and Shania Sheth


Hi everyone! To kick off our Arts in Medicine series, we bring you this article on how music can impact mental health positively, and how it is used in mental health therapies. Our Arts in Medicine series aims to show how various art forms can be used to help promote healthcare outcomes. Happy Reading!

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Music, a universal love for all people.



It has the power to give one support in physical, mental and emotional health. Moreover, it provides the power of healing and comfort, which makes it so valuable. In fact, it has given so much comfort to people that music has become a form of therapy. Music therapy is a health profession in which music is used as a therapeutic tool to help individuals with mental health disorders and improve their mood. Research has proven how effective it can be in increasing motivation, self-esteem and improvement in health and skills such as better communication, more concentration and more awareness towards oneself and others. Although it is an underrated form of therapy, the efficacy of music never fails.



What does music therapy focus upon?

Music therapy focuses on many different conditions, such as treating mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, stress and trauma.


How does it do that?

In music therapy, the music used engages in different brain areas such as the Nucleus Accumbens (neural interface of motivation and action) and the mesolimbic area (a pathway which transports dopamine to the Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala). These two areas are involved in emotional real-life experiences.


Also, since music contains respective components such as pitch, dynamics and rhythms, the neocortex of the brain engages to calm and reduce impulsivity in people. Individuals with mental health disorders can get a sense of peace, comfort and a way to process emotions, trauma and grief. This safe space is what helps these patients feel better soon.



For instance, a music therapy program featured an event at The Kennedy Center about music and the mind. This was an orchestra led concert with interactive presentations and other shows. Not only that, but neuroscientists, clients, music therapists and researchers were included in this event to show its significance. People at this event felt more seen and had a safe space around them filled with music, shows and motivational presentations. This event gained a lot of success and recognition.


In short, music therapy gives a sense of comfort and love to all people regardless of their difficulties. The power of music never fails to touch people’s hearts in even the hardest of situations. The connection one can feel with music is something to treasure.

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Thanks for reading the first article in our Arts in Medicine series! We hope you learned about how music can impact people positively and can improve healthcare outcomes.

If you liked reading this article, please like, comment, share, and check out Harshita's article on ALS, linked here! Additionally, please subscribe to the Medical Marvels blog, so you can be notified whenever a new article comes out!

PS: We'd love it if you could comment your favorite song to listen to when you're stressed out down below!

Thanks for reading,

Mahee and the Writing Committee :)








References:

Hegde, S. (2017, May 1). Music therapy for mental disorder and mental health: The untapped potential of Indian Classical Music. BJPsych international. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618810/


The impact of music therapy on Mental Health. NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2016/The-Impact-of-Music-Therapy-on-Mental-Health


All other ground is Sinking Sand. Personal Stories about Music Therapy | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.musictherapy.org/about/personal_stories/


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medicalmarvels
medicalmarvels
03 Ağu 2022

A very educational & creative piece of writing. Amazing job, Mahee.

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