In fact, many hospitals across the country use music therapy to help patients heal. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, uses music as part of its cardiovascular surgery healing program to "promote relaxation and reduce tension, stress and anxiety." Music helps these patients relax, decreases their pain, improves their moods and helps them to sleep better, especially during recovery.
So, how should people use music therapy to enhance their physical and mental well being? All should actively seek their most beneficial musical directions; however, here are some suggestions from Elizabeth Scott, M.S., a stress management guide, in her article "Music and Stress Relief: How to Use Music in Your Daily Life." These routine daily activities offer excellent opportunities to enjoy music.
1. Wake yourself up with music. Start your day feeling great, setting the tone for a lower-stress day.
2. Play your favorite music in the car to eliminate road rage. By relieving some of the tension from the commute itself and the day so far, music helps you feel less like you’re wasting time in traffic, and more like you’re having some nice time to yourself.
3. Listen to music while you cook. You can make better nutrition through home cooking more of a fun activity rather than a chore. You’ll likely find yourself relaxed and in a better frame of mind once dinner starts, which can enable you to savor your dinner and your company as you eat.
4. Trigger the relaxation response as you're eating with soothing music. Doing this can lower cortisol levels, making it easier to digest food. Also, studies have shown that classical music in particular can help you eat less, digest better, and enjoy your food more. 5. Play some energetic music to raise your energy level and have fun as you clean. If you tell yourself that you only need to clean for a certain amount of songs and then you can be done, you may work more efficiently, and even come to look forward to doing the job. 6. Pay bills to music. Playing music while you write your checks can help take your mind off financial stress you may be feeling, and make the task more enjoyable. 7. Play music as you drift off to sleep. Music helps counteract the effects of stress by taking your mind from what’s stressing you, slowing down your breathing, and soothing your mind. Here Scott cites some particularly good CD selections for relaxation and stress relief. ("Top 7 CDs for Relaxation and Stress Relief," 2007) 4. Songs About Jane, by Maroon 5 6. A Day Without Rain, by Enya Violinist Daniel Kobialka has said his deepest hope has always been that his music will bring joy and well being to listeners. Surprising to him at first, and since a source of great satisfaction, he has learned that many healers, from Dr. Bernie Siegel to Dr. Joan Borysenko, have used his musical interpretations to assist in relaxation and guided imagery. Recent research study results are in that push our boundaries of understanding our brains, stress, and the effects of music stimuli on mental states. According to his research, Kobialka reports. "We all know that music can help you to "feel good," but did you know that research has shown that this good can last far past the actual listening experience? It's true - music changes your brainwave activity levels and this also helps your brain accomplish this on its own." (Musical Inspirations Website and http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Daniel_Kobialka) Kobialka also believes that one of the great benefits of music for stress relief is its versatility. You can listen to it in your leisure time and carry the benefits with you long after you've stopped listening, and you can also incorporate it into your daily life, thanks to mp3 technologies, without having to stop what you're doing. In closing, what does the future of music therapy hold. Drummer Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead speculates the following in a recent article "Mickey Harts Speaks Out For the Science Of Music." "It's kind of seat of the pants now. Sometimes you can get the magic, you can get the rhythm, get the groove, go with the trance, but once you decode it, then a doctor will be able to write a prescription for music. Your HMOs and your insurance companies will be able to pay for it, and music will be a legitimate preventive medicine, as well as other things. Music is an incredible energy, most people don't realize the power that music has, but they will, it's inevitable." (Susan E. Mandel, Ph.D., MT-BC, http://musicalinspirations.com/data/html/music-therapy/90.cgi)