(NaturalHealth365) They say music soothes the soul. It also soothes the brain, according to recent scientific studies. People with all kinds of neurological disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are responding well to music therapy. In fact, some of the results doctors and music therapists are seeing are quite remarkable.
What is music therapy? It is the simple act of playing music for people that is personally meaningful to them. While any type of music can have therapeutic benefits, it is the music that has the most personal meaning for the patient that benefits them the most. Assisted living and memory care centers across the country are starting to use this technique, and it is being recommended to at-home caregivers, as well.
Here’s a beautiful (video) example of how music has the power to heal. If you know a family dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease – share this story with them.
Using music as medicine to heal the body
What is music therapy and how does it benefit neurological diseases? It has been known for decades that music has a soothing effect on patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and even certain mental illnesses. It boosts mood, and can even bring back speech to people who have stopped talking long ago. This has been noted by Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and professor at Columbia University.
Vibrations have a huge therapeutic benefit.
As we know, music is made up of vibrations. Lee Bartel, a music professor at the University of Toronto, is involved in a study to see how those vibrations affect people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. He and the researchers working with him are discovering that low frequency sounds stabilize the disorientation in the thalmus that is common in people with certain neurological diseases. When the thalmus is stabilized, symptoms of these diseases improve.
Understanding the connection between music and memory
Aside from the vibrational effects of music on the physical brain, the actual sound of the music itself has a highly beneficial effect on the emotional brain. That is why, according to AARP magazine, personalized playlists can be so helpful to neurological disorder patients and their caretakers.
People who are agitated or unhappy, non-verbal, and even wheelchair-bound are able to be soothed, cheered up, and sometimes even talk or move around a little bit again when important music they loved from their pasts is played to them.
Editor’s note: Just in case you have any doubt about the power of music, I urge you to watch this emotionally powerful YouTube video about an 87 year old Alzheimer’s patient, named Gladys Wilson.
Those caretakers who have used it have expressed it to be a lifesaver for both them and their afflicted loved ones. Keep in mind, it doesn’t always take new medications to help heal a person. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as music.
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