Welcome to the sixth and final post in the Why Music Therapy Works series! If you like this post, be sure to check out the other posts in the series!
Spending time in a hospital is something that none of us look forward to, yet it is a fact of life for many. Being displaced from our homes, in pain, in a strange environment, and unable to make simple choices for ourselves is an experience that is seldom celebrated.
It is exactly this experience in a hospital that music therapy is finding itself so effective against. Once again, and for the last time in this series, I am going to ask the question: Why?
Music Decreases Stress: Ask any medical professional how easy it is to initiate tests on treatment on a stressed or anxious patient, and they will likely tell you one thing: It isn’t easy. There are several hospitals (Tallahassee Memorial from the top of my head) that are utilizing music therapy directly into their testing procedures. They are finding calmer, more relaxed testing procedures which equates into a more enjoyable (or less harrowing) experience for the patient, and faster turn around for the hospital.
Music is Healthy in the Hospital: Patients experiencing music therapy in the hospital have shown lower respiration rates (think more oxygen in the blood), lower blood pressure (heart attacks, anyone?), reduced heart rate, reduces muscle tension, and overall better cardiac output.With these improvements, recovery is quicker and discharge sooner. That’s good news to both the patient and the hospital.
Music Therapy Decreases Pain Perception: As mentioned in the Why Music Therapy Works: End of Life post, participation in music therapy can increase the body’s production of serotonin, which in turn decreases our perception of pain. With a decreased perception of pain, patients frequently require less anesthesia. By utilizing less anesthesia, less opportunities for error are presented, the body recovers quicker, and again, healing takes place faster. I know when I had my gall bladder removed, less anesthesia would have been a blessing when I awoke to a room full of my college music department. I doubt it was a pretty sight.
With the prevalence of music therapy in medicine, and the opportunity through hospitals of clinical study, our research pool in this area is growing exponentially. I’d love to hear if you have anything I missed!
Please let me know if you have enjoyed the series and would like to see more like it!