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Music as Therapy?

Some studies have suggested that, when used with pain-relieving drugs, music may help decrease the overall intensity of the patient’s experience of pain. Music therapy can also result in a decreased need for pain medicine in some patients, although studies have shown mixed results. In hospice patients, one study found that music therapy improved comfort, relaxation, and pain control. Another study found that quality of life improved in cancer patients who received music therapy, even as it declined in those who did not. No differences were seen in survival between the two groups. A more recent clinical trial looked at the effects of music during the course of several weeks of radiation treatments. The researchers found that, even though emotional distress (such as anxiety) seemed to be helped at the beginning of the course of treatment, the patients reported that this effect gradually decreased. Music did not appear to help such symptoms as pain, fatigue, and depression over the long term. Other clinical trials have revealed a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, insomnia, depression, and anxiety with music therapy. No one knows all the ways music can benefit the body, but studies have shown that music can affect brain waves, brain circulation, and stress hormones. These effects are usually measured during and shortly after the music therapy. Studies have shown that students who take music lessons have improved IQ levels, and show improvement in non-musical abilities as well. Other studies showed that listening to music produces a short-term improvement in tasks that use spatial abilities. Studies of brain circulation have shown that people listening to music have more activity in certain areas of the brain..Listening to music have shown no benefit on anxiety during surgical procedures, although one study that allowed patients to choose their own music showed improved anxiety levels. One recent review of studies looked at the effect of music on all types of pain, and found a wide variation in its effects. In general, music therapy done under the care of a professionally trained therapist has a helpful effect and is considered safe when used along with standard treatment. Musical intervention by untrained people can be ineffective.

This presentation shows the application of music-therapy with patients afflicted by Parkinson disease, whether young or elderly, associated to A.I.P. (Parkinson Italian Association) of Milan during the years 2006 and 2007. The setting is a room of music therapy in which is collocated a grand piano and some other musical instruments. There is space for body movement supported by the clinical and musical improvisation, realized by piano and cello. This work will document the effects that rhythm, melody and harmony can produce in a person afflicted by Parkinson disease, during a music- creative process.

The observations come from testimonies of the patients during the music therapeutic meetings. The clients explain in their personal words: feelings, impressions and sensations coming from music and sound. Sick people say that Parkinson modifies their body perceptions, because rigidity of the muscles is one of more serious results of this disease. The body resonance helps patients to improve their movements, overcoming the disease limits. The presentation explains the meaning of perception through body resonance. This theory derives from Humanistic Music Therapy in which the person is considered in the relation with words, with the other and with oneself. Music makes it possible with adults, and in the same way with children, to listen to their body and to express their emotions.

The patient, received and accepted in his specificity, by empathetic listening, develops his inner Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses. Music therapy interventions can be designed to:” Promote wellness Manage stress. Alleviate pain Express feelings. Enhance memory. Improve communication. Promote physical rehabilitation. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in a wide variety of healthcare and educational settings.

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