Staying under hospice care services can be a challenging period for patients and their families. Because of that, providers try to look for many ways to ease the burden. One of the more innovative methods is through music therapy. Let’s find out how it works and how it can help patients face these trying times better.
What Is Music Therapy?
As the name says, this is a mode of therapy designed to help improve patients’ well-being through music. Note that this isn’t just about listening to music. Instead, patients will be dabbling in different activities related to it, such as:
- Playing instruments
- Writing songs
- Music discussions
By indulging in these activities, the patient can refocus their thoughts into more positive things. This can then help them improve their well-being significantly.
The Benefits Of Music Therapy
Listening to music itself has been shown to provide a wide array of health benefits. These benefits range from the physical to the mental and emotional. By extension, you can get these benefits through participating in the music creation process as well.
Listening to and making music can help relax your mind and lessen anxiety. You also get to improve your mood significantly. All of these contribute to reducing the amount of stress that you experience and improving your overall health.
Better Heart Health
Listening to music will often make you want to move your body to the beat. This activity can do wonders for your heart health. In particular, it will help alter your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. With the right choice of music, you can keep all of these within desired levels.
It Helps Manage Pain
People suffering from medical conditions often have to go through significant pain. Music can help them take their minds off the pain and relieve the discomfort that they are feeling. What’s great about this is that it can also improve the effectiveness of the medication. The method can be done in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Improves Memory And Cognition
Seniors often struggle with daily memory and cognition issues. While it is no cure, music can help them stimulate their memories. This also helps improve cognition. Those improvements lessen the symptoms of mental conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
How Music Therapy Is Done
Music therapy comes in a wide variety of forms. Each will suit patients that have specific conditions. For instance, those who are bed-ridden can opt for passive therapy and just listen to music. More active kinds of therapy are well suited for patients who wish for a more involved session.
Analytic Music Therapy
In this type of therapy, you are encouraged to express your thoughts through singing or playing an instrument. Here, you are free to present these any way you want. The therapist will then help you reflect on and discuss these thoughts.
Neurologic Music Therapy
This type of therapy takes off from neuroscience. The focus is on the perception of music and how it can influence changes in the brain. Once these changes are triggered, specialists then help patients develop them even outside of listening to music.
NMT is particularly useful for dealing with motor issues. Here, the goal is to help patients train motor responses like tapping their feet. This can control involuntary movements for patients who might be suffering from conditions like Parkinson’s.
Music therapists Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins developed this method with a focus on helping children with disabilities. Its main thrust is to help patients find meaning in the music that they make.
The therapy session begins with you playing an instrument, usually a cymbal or a drum. The therapist then accompanies you during the session. Here, the play session is more improvisational, where you just create as you go. This serves as a form of self-expression, which lets you release any pent-up emotions.
More known fully as the Bonny method of guided imagery and music, this technique combines music therapy with another technique. Here, the patient first focuses on an image. The therapist then starts to discuss any issues that the patient feels are related to it.
The music element serves as a means for the patient to become more aware of their thoughts and better think about solutions to their issues. For that, the choice of music is essential. You want something that would indeed get you into the mood for deep thoughts.
Community Music Therapy
While music therapy is often on a one-to-one basis, you can also have it in a group session. The idea here is that music can help you connect with other patients. Once that connection is there, patients can then help each other with their issues.
One thing you should know about community music therapy is that it requires significant patient participation. As such, hospice care services typically combine it with other group-based therapy programs. For this, they pair patients with similar conditions to help them better relate with each other.
What To Expect During Your Music Therapy Session
One thing you might be curious about is whether you need to have some knowledge about music for the therapy. Luckily, you don’t need any. These therapies are done by professionals who are already well-versed in music. They will be able to determine which kind of methods would suit your skill level.
Before you begin your sessions, the therapist will help you set the goals you want to achieve. For instance, you might be looking to relieve yourself of depression. These goals determine not just the type of therapy that you go through but also the kind of music you use for that session.
A big part of music therapy sessions is the facilitator letting you use your emotions to influence your actions. For instance, if you are feeling angry, you are free to play loud and fast. This will help you release these emotions and come to terms with them.
Music Therapy And Other Methods
While music therapy is often used as a standalone method, it can also be combined with other physical and mental therapies. For instance, patients undergoing physical rehabilitation may find it easier to go through the exercises with the help of the right tunes. It can also be useful for people who might be having a hard time communicating due to illnesses like dementia.
Brighten Your Day With Music Therapy
While not all hospice care services have in-house music therapy, they will be able to connect you with third-party providers. And you definitely would not want to miss the opportunity. Let the music lift you and help you improve your well-being.