Music therapy is used to meet the psychological, physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of others. It is a holistic therapeutic practice that is readily available in many of the larger hospitals around the United States today.
Both the caregiver and the ‘cared for’ can reap the benefits of music therapy . Typical benefits include anxiety reduction; improved breathing, sleep and motor processing; decreased depression; lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and/or muscle tension; greater relaxation.
Music allows elders to explore their spiritual beliefs and can evoke repressed emotions. It can be used to stimulate body movements. Physiologically, music can alter heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and respiration rate.
Musical background and preferences should be taken into consideration when designing a program for a specific individual. Approaches to sharing can include listening, lyric discussion, music assisted relaxation, singing, instrument playing and song writing.
Professional music therapists work in a variety of settings – hospitals, schools, nursing homes, mental health centers and outpatient clinics.
Dr. Deforia Lane, Ireland Cancer Center