Studies have shown that a variety music therapy for reducing stress has been proven effective in reducing your symptoms and promoting relaxation. Especially for those of us who have been battling with stress and anxiety. Furthermore, this method has been found useful for healthcare professionals and caregivers in their effort to address other health-threatening conditions. The use of music as therapeutic remedy offers benefits such as:
- decrease in heart and respiratory rate,
- lower blood pressure,
- anxiety relief,
- treatment for agitation and depression,
- general stress reduction,
- improvement on coping skills
- and better psychosocial orientation.
Music has also been used as a sedative component for patients undergoing operative procedures. By exploring the techniques of music therapy, you can support yourself with stress relief and management.
So, how does music affect our minds and bodies? Music therapy uses sound waves to soothe the body and mind. These sound waves are continuous modulations or frequencies generated by musical instruments such as drums, cymbals, or modern ultrasonic machines. The underlying principle of music therapy is based on the fact that all of our bodies’ cells vibrate at a regular frequency. Physical stress or illness can cause misalignment to these frequencies or otherwise alteration.
Such problems can be solved by exposing the body to a sound at a certain frequency. Stress-related pains and muscular aches can be treated by playing back an audio of a certain sound at a prearranged and consistent frequency.
Despite some people’s claim of the effectiveness of music therapy in reducing stress, others are still skeptical about it. One of the issues in utilizing music therapy as a remedy for stress is that every individual has their own preferences when it comes to their choice of music. In this case, you need to find what musical style works best for you.
Music comes in a wide variety of genres and styles that finding the particular style that suits you might be a little difficult. In addition, your taste in musical style may change from time to time depending on your mood or the situation you are in. For example, while you’re indulging yourself in a pleasant candle-lit bath, you are likely to turn on a soft classical music to soothe your senses. In other situation when you want to release that repressed tensions and jitters, you are likely to listen to loud rock music or fast-beat songs which you can dance or sing along.
It is therefore important to find out what type of music you need in the current circumstance that you’re in. Increase your familiarity on the different types of music and take note of the artists, composers and genres that appeal to you the most. You can also listen to different radio stations over the air or online to discover the latest songs hitting the waves.
The power of music has been well-established as it can create a unique connection to our emotions. Anything that can affect our feelings and emotions can be considered as a tool for stress management. Different styles of music offer different benefits to our minds and bodies. Slow and quiet classical music conveys remarkable relaxing effect which is very beneficial on our physiological functions. This type of music can slow heart and respiratory rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease the levels of stress hormones. Calming classical music can also assist your meditation as it absorbs your attention and lets you explore your emotions at the same time. And you might want to have classical records at hand to play before bedtime as it greatly promotes serenity and relaxation that helps induce a good night sleep.
Fast and loud music, on the other hand, triggers you to unleash your agitation and anxiety. One of the most effective ways to let go of your angst and frustrations is to shout it all out. Listening to hard rock music where you can hear a lot of shouting can unburden yourself of mental stress that you’ve been keeping inside you. Other people resort to dancing just to shake it all off, while some enjoy singing loudly in karaoke just to let it all out.
Research on Music Therapy
Music therapy has been employed for centuries to treat illnesses and reinforce harmony between body and mind. Modern scientific studies have tried to unravel the promising benefits of music as a therapeutic remedy for stress. Research studies have arrived at the following findings:
- Music improves coordination and communication by bringing order and soundness to distressed and disabled people.
- Hospital patients about to undergo surgery are advised to listen to music before and after the procedure in order to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Patients suffering from chronic pain and post-operative pain experienced reduction in distress and sensation during and after music therapy.
- Music can be used to treat depression as it increases self-esteem especially among elderly people.
- Listening to music tremendously reduces burnout and improves mood.
- Music therapy bears improvement to adult cancer patients by significantly reducing emotional distress and encouraging quality of life.
Some other benefits of music therapy include:
- Overcoming a fear
Listening to music helps you overcome your fear. A concrete example of this is the purpose of headphones on an airplane. Many people have fears about flying that they quickly put their headphones on during take-off and landing. This is due to the fact that music can distract you momentarily from a current circumstance, making you forget for a moment that you are in a situation you’re scared of. To make it more effective, other people also use eye masks while wearing headphones to wallow themselves in the realm of their emotions.
- Overcoming frustration
You’re already late for work while you’re stuck in a heavy traffic; this probably has happened to you and yes – it is very, very frustrating. Don’t let frustration freak you out and start playing your favorite music on in your car, you can also hum or sing along.
- While you exercise
Exercise also helps in reducing stress by increasing your endorphin (anti-stress hormone) level while decreasing your cortisol (stress hormone) level. Some people find exercising physically hard and boring. You can spice up your exercise routine by playing fast-beat music to synchronize with your workout. It’s no surprise to see joggers with their headphones on because listening to lively music encourages them to keep moving. Most gyms are playing music with beats matching the rhythm of their exercise to enhance the harmony of their bodies and the music.
- Seeking inner self
Music therapy is not only for stressed people, it can be used by almost anyone just for the purpose of relaxation and enjoyment. Our musical preference is also a reflection of our personality, and by exploring different musical repertoire, we are also probing our inner self.