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Holistic healing: Untapped potential of music therapy

www.dailypioneer.com | October 9, 2023

Music therapy has the potential to become a powerful therapeutic intervention that can give holistic care to individuals who face distress and depression

The World Health Organisation has provided the statistics on global mental health. In 2019, about a billion individuals worldwide were suffering from mental illnesses. This shocking proportion included 14% of the world's teenagers (WHO Report, 2018). In recent years, the importance of mental health has gained international recognition. This is demonstrated by the fact that it was included in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in September 2015. (Votruba & Thornicroft, 2016). With that, the most popular form of therapy in the twenty-first century is cognitive behavioural therapy, also referred to as talk therapy. With the aid of a qualified psychologist, they are intended to substitute negative ideas and behaviours with positive ones. They are effective in treating a range of disorders, such as anxiety and depression. A less-discussed form of treatment is creative arts therapy. By giving patients a platform for creative expression, this approach promotes healing.

Healing Power of Sound

A universal language exists in music. Since ancient times, it has been used to unite people, especially in times of difficulty. The concerts and live performances that singers and artists gave to their audiences during the pandemic serve as an example of this. Similarly, music therapy becomes comforting for individuals with mental disorders as the therapeutic nature of music is amplified. In addition to serving as a tool for processing emotions, trauma, and sorrow, music may also be used to control or ease anxiety or other forms of dysregulation.

Music Therapy

According to professor and neuropsychologist Dr. Daniel Levitin, "Music therapy is the evidence-based use of music in clinical situations that help people achieve desired health outcomes”. Different vibrations and sound waves can produce music. The effectiveness of music therapy depends on the brain's openness to these Waves. One can reorient and integrate with the present reality and environment by using music as a sensory input. In addition, playing and listening to music can stimulate the body's production of natural killer cells and antibody immunoglobulin A, which are cells that fight viruses in our bodies (Novotney, 2013). This strengthens the body's defences. Music therapy can also be an effective tool for overall well-being and work as a preventive or anticipatory healing modality for vulnerable patients by working on reducing the levels of cortisol (stress hormone).

Music Therapy and Mental Health Disorders

Depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety (just to name a few) are some of the most debilitating mental disorders that can cause severe distress in an individual’s life. Its treatment includes psychotherapy, commonly known as talk therapy as well as medication. However, sometimes depression and post-traumatic stress disorders can lead to psychomotor regression. There are four major ways music therapy can be used for regulating emotions combined with psychotherapy and medication. Firstly, lyric analysis is a new and less intimidating method of processing feelings, thoughts, and experiences. It provides the individual with an opportunity to express their feelings through music lyrics. Secondly, improvisation is a technique where playing instruments encourages individuals to express emotions through therapeutic themes. Then comes active music listening where music’s rhythmic and repetitive aspect is used to regulate feelings. Lastly, songwriting is a creative and positive way to express emotions. It can also be gratifying to listen to one’s creation building up their self-esteem.

Palliative Care

People with terminal diseases may find comfort in music therapy's calming influence. For patients receiving palliative care, it can calm them, lessen their worry, and foster a serene atmosphere.

Music Therapy in India

In India, music therapy is still in its infancy. Since a few years ago, hospitals, clinics, counselling services, and rehabilitation facilities in India have used music as a therapeutic intervention. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Kinjalk Diabetes and Heart Care Centre, CK Birla Hospital for Women and Niramaya Wellness Clinic are some institutes where music therapy is practised. For over three decades, Dr. Nishindra Kinjalk has contributed significantly to the study and use of music therapy in India. The Kinjalk Mode of Music Application, sometimes known as "KIMMA," was developed by Dr. Kinjalk in 1987. The KIMMA is used to determine the best music for patients based on their medical history, mood, and condition. KIMMA is one of the techniques created in India, along with other music application methods including Nada Chikitsa, and Nada Yoga.

We may spread the healing that music therapy offers which is a peaceful route to greater physical and psychological well-being.

This article has been co-authored by Suhani Vora, Undergraduate Student, FLAME University, and Prof. Garima Rajan, Faculty of Psychology, FLAME University.

(Source:- https://www.dailypioneer.com/2023/columnists/holistic-healing--untapped-potential-of-music-therapy.html )