Music Therapy

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As always, seek professional advice before using any of the methods listed.


This is the use of musically based interventions to accomplish individual goals within a therapeutic relationship between a professional who has completed an approved music therapy program and a patient with desired goals.

Music Therapy is probably one of the most accepted, widely used and most understood of the Alternative Medicine's.

Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the "expressive therapies", consisting of a process in which the music therapist will use music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients improve their physical and mental health.

A music therapist will primarily assist a client to improve their health within several areas, for example, cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, social skills, and quality of life, the end results are achieved by using musically based experiences such as free improvisation, singing, and listening to, discussing, and moving to music to achieve treatment goals.

Music Therapy has a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research/literature, and incorporates clinical therapy, psychotherapy, biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics, embodied music cognition, aesthetics of music, sensory integration, and comparative musicology.

Referrals to the use of music therapy has been made by health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Clients can also choose to pursue music therapy services without a referral (i.e., self-referral).

Music therapists can be found inside almost every area of the health/psychology based professions, including; some medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools, alcohol and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities.

Commonly found practices can include developmental work, communication and motor skills, individuals with special needs have benefited from, songwriting and listening to music, it has been known to help in reminiscence/orientation work with the elderly, as well as, processing and relaxation work, and rhythmic entrainment for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims.

Some of its history

Music has been used to assist healing for longer than we can possibly predict.

  • The Greeks had "Apollo" the god of music and of medicine, interesting that those two things were put together.
  • Aesculapius was said to cure diseases of the mind by using song and music, and music therapy was used in Egyptian temples.
  • Plato made claim that music affected the emotions and could influence the character of an individual.
  • Aristotle taught that music affects the soul and described music as "a force that purified the emotions".
  • Music therapy was practiced in biblical times, when David played the harp to rid King Saul of a bad spirit.
  • As early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates played music for mental patients.
  • On to the thirteenth century, and Arab hospitals contained music-rooms for the benefit of the patients.
  • Native American medicine men often employed chants and dances as a method of healing patients.
  • Robert Burton wrote in the 17th century in his classic work, "The Anatomy of Melancholy", that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness, especially melancholia.
  • Music therapy as we know it began in the aftermath of the World Wars, when, especially in the UK, musicians would travel to hospitals and play music for soldiers suffering from war-related emotional and physical trauma.

Internal Links

Alternative Medicine

Music Genres Category

External links

British Association for Music Therapy website