Research Paper on Music Therapy and Effects of Music on Psychological and Mental Health

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1780 Words
Date:  2022-06-02


The atheistic and harmonious arrangement of vocal or instrumental sounds is known as music. The human brain has been studied to react positively to this harmonious expression of emotions as the two have had a substantial impact in psychiatry (Fausch-Pfister, 2013). Psychiatrists and mental health professionals have exploited this relationship through music therapy, in which the patients are undertaken through various sessions of listening to music for their mental well-being. The birth of the therapeutic use of music as an effective way of treating mental disorders has seen the practice get applied in various situations and strengthened even further. Music therapy may be active or passive, with the latter being where the mental health professional plays soothing music to the patient with the patient only participating in the peaceful visualization of happy images. active music therapy, on the other hand, entails a situation in which both the patient and the therapist participate by playing, singing, or even dancing to the musical instruments. Music therapy has had a lot of benefits whenever applied in treating mental health conditions. These benefits include entertaining people and making them have a good time without much worry or stress. Music is also a pain reliever in that the singers or dancers get to experience happiness without having to experience the pain of issues happening in their lives. Music therapy has also other immeasurable benefits to psychiatry and mental health as it has been used to effectively contain mental illnesses that are detrimental to the well-being of the patients (Rickard & McFerran, 2013). This research paper will dwell on the mental health benefits that arise from the application of music therapy in treating various mental disorders.

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Music Therapy Techniques

One of the creative interventions under music therapy used in treating mental disorders is drumming (Fausch-Pfister, 2013). This entails the creation of drumming circles by mental health patients who partake in the drumming sessions. Psychological experts believe that these drumming sessions have social, emotional, and physiological health benefits to mental health patients. A research carried out to establish the link between the mind and body of a drummer found that the bloodstream of patient drummers contained a higher number of immune cells responsible for fighting infections in the human body. The drumming sessions also enhanced the cell activity of the mental health patients, hence increasing their ability to fight immunological and neuroendocrine conditions. Asthmatic patients also benefit from these drumming sessions, especially children, because the more they drum the more their cell activity demands for oxygen and they are able to breathe without any difficulties (Lathom-Radocy, 2014).

Another music therapy technique is centered around singing (Edwards, 2017). Psychiatrists have realized that there are various mental disorders that make it hard for the patients to speak or even utter a word, yet these patients can fluently sing. Such conditions include dementia, stroke, Parkinson's disease, or even multiple sclerosis. Recent studies have dug deeper into this phenomenon, with mental health experts concluding that music was a very big vitamin for the brain as it can be used in the treatment of brain damage. This is largely because of the complex music neurons that are widespread across the brain, making them hard to damage unlike the neural pathways of other brain functions like language or speech (O'Kelly, Fachner & Tervaniemi, 2017). With one part of the brain completely destroyed, the other side can be repaired and restored to full functionality if treated therapeutically through music.

Music has also been used to treat other conditions through the art form of dancing. Schizophrenic patients or people with stroke have been known to benefit from engaging in various music therapy sessions that involve soothing or mellow vocals to which the patients can dance. This encourages them to move their body parts slowly with the slow-paced tempo of the beats to allow them to move their various body parts and engage their brains. This, in the long run, aids in their recuperation in terms of regaining the various functionalities of their body parts. Patients with mental health conditions also stand to benefit from engaging in dancing music therapy sessions as it helps them to relieve their stress and anxiety, hence allowing them to experience the thrills and joys of the moment that the dancing music sessions present.

Benefits of Music Therapy to Psychological and Mental Health

Music therapy has benefits to people with mental health issues because it minimizes the physical effects of stress while reducing anxiety. This is because music has been known to have positive psychological outcomes on the autonomous nervous system. It triggers emotional and neuro-motor responses when the stimulation and movement of the various sensory pathways of the brained are combined. The patient with the metal disorder experiences s state of mental relaxation through the auditory stimulation whenever a musical instrument is played. The same also goes in the case of mellow-voiced musical sessions that bring a lot of ease and rest to the brain, relieving it of any stress or anxiety. The people with physical impairments like handicapped children or cognitive impairments like geriatric adults benefit from this form of natural music therapy that entails listening to soothing music or the playing of musical instruments (Tomlinson, Derrington & Oldfield, 2011).

Music therapy has also proved to be beneficial to the world of psychiatry through the healing powers that it avails. Various hospitals and other health centers have resorted to the use of music just before certain medical procedures or tests are conducted to help the patients reducing their anxiety. Medical practitioners have observed that this tends to hasten up the healing process among the patients with various mental illnesses. Patients who have undergone the cardiac procedure or surgery seem to relax afterward with the help of music regardless of how invasive or exhausting the diagnostic procedures may have been. It is this effect of music after such medical procedures that contribute the rapid healing and wellbeing of the patients involved. The continuous application of music therapy helps the patients with mental illnesses to heal through the release of stress hormones from their respiratory, neurological, cardiac, and immune functionalities (O'Kelly et al., 2017).

Music therapy has also helped in injecting happiness in the sunset days of the elderly in our society. This is because the routine use of music has contributed to the reduction of stress and other symptoms associated with the elderly. Music has become the standard recommendation in nursing homes and geriatric care establishments because of its significant benefits in the cognitive, intellectual, and psychological functions of the elderly people. The improvement of these psychiatric functionalities has improved the social aspects of the old people in nursing care. The application of both passive and active approaches to music therapy has been known to improve the mood and feeling of comfort among the elderly. This has been a remarkable departure from the previous complaints of boredom, depression, isolation, or anxiousness among the old people in geriatric care environments. Elderly patients in intensive care units benefit from music therapy as it helps with their recuperation and interaction with their immediate surroundings.

Other psychological disorders like schizophrenia may be treated through the use of music therapy. Music therapy benefits schizophrenic patients in that it helps reduce the symptoms associated with the mental disorder. Music therapy serves as an effective tool for enhancing the psychological symptoms and social relationships of mentally ill people like schizophrenics. The most common music elements used in such instances include non-verbal elements but largely revolve around acoustic musical instruments. It is the performance of the improvised musical instruments that bring out the healing abilities of music therapy through the reduction of the psychiatric symptoms that culminate into schizophrenia. Music therapy is a powerful tool used in the medical intervention of psychological disorders, with other troubling mental conditions having been reported as successfully treated through the use of music therapy.

The beneficial use of music therapy is also evident on the management of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's. Clinical research points towards the improved cognitive functions in patients with mental impairments like the Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. Their quality of life also substantially improves through the use of music therapy. Playing, singing, or dancing to music has been seen to provide some form of an uplifting therapy that helps the mentally ill patients to adapt to the symptoms and senses that music stimulates. The disability, loss of senses, and depressive mood occasioned by the Parkinson's disease have all been seen to be reduced through the constant use of music therapy on the patients with this psychiatric condition. Free body motions during dance sessions, singing in a group choir, vocal sessions, and active singing are some of the approaches in music therapy that have contributed significantly in improving the quality of life for most of the patients afflicted with mental disorders.


The above discourse acknowledges the extensive application of music therapy in the treatment of various psychological and mental conditions. Scientists have long established the link between music and the human brain, giving rise to music therapy whose use in health care has been prevalent ever since. Music has a lot of benefits in life itself, let along in the health sector. From being a source of entertainment to the creation of megastars, music has remained one of the most influential industries in the world. Narrowing the benefits of music to the healthcare industry, there is no denying the numerous effects that the use of music therapy brings to both the caregivers and the mentally ill patients. These benefits can accrue to the parties involved through the active or passive techniques of music therapy that including the drumming therapy, singing therapy, and dancing therapy (Edwards, 2017). Listening and playing other instruments are other forms of therapies that mental health professionals can adopt in the treatment of mental health illnesses. Some of the tangible benefits of musical therapy are the reduction of stress and anxiety among mentally ill patients, especially before and after performing major medical procedures. Music therapy is also used in treating some psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. The adoption of music therapy in treating mentally ill patients has also proven to have contributed to their healing and enhancing the mood of the elderly.


Edwards, J. (2017). The Oxford handbook of music therapy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fausch-Pfister, H. (2013). Music therapy and psychodrama: The benefits of integrating the two methods. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

Lathom-Radocy, W. (2014). Pediatric music therapy. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.

O'Kelly, J., Fachner, J. C., & Tervaniemi, M. (2017). Dialogues in music therapy and music neuroscience: Collaborative understanding driving clinical advances. Frontiers Media.

Rickard, N. S., & McFerran, K. (2013). Lifelong engagement with music: Benefits for mental health and well-being. Hauppauge,...

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