Music therapy


What is it?

Music therapy or music medicine is the therapeutic use of music. It can involve listening, improvising, or performing music, with or without a therapist.

Music therapy can work by distracting people from unpleasant feelings, which helps to reduce anxiety and pain. It can also work as a form of communication in place of spoken therapy in some people with certain psychological illnesses.

People use music therapy to alleviate pain and anxiety. It is also used for autism, stroke recovery, ADHD, cancer, heart disease, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

Is it effective?

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Possibly Effective for …

  • Anxiety. Participating in music therapy and listening to music seems to reduce anxiety in many different types of people.
  • Autism. Music therapy might improve social skills and communication in people with autism.
  • Pain in people with cancer. Music therapy seems to somewhat reduce chronic cancer-related pain.
  • Depression. Music therapy seems to improve depression in most people with depression. It also seems to improve depressive symptoms in people who have not been diagnosed with depression.
  • High blood pressure. Music therapy seems to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
  • Insomnia. Listening to music seems to improve sleep in people with difficulty sleeping. It seems to help both adults and children.
  • Chronic pain. Music therapy seems to help reduce chronic pain from some chronic diseases.
  • Parkinson disease. Music therapy and adding music to movement therapy seems to help improve symptoms of Parkinson disease.
  • Pain after surgery. Music therapy reduces pain and anxiety after surgery and during recovery after surgery.
  • Anxiety before a procedure. Music therapy and listening to music reduces anxiety before surgery and medical procedures.
  • Quality of life. Participating in music therapy or listening to music seems to help improve quality of life.
  • Schizophrenia. Music therapy improves symptoms and social functioning in people with schizophrenia.
  • Stroke. Music therapy improves walking, quality of life, and communication in people who have had a stroke.

There is interest in using music therapy for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is there concern for the safety of its use?

Music therapy is likely safe when used appropriately together with proven treatments. Music therapy has been used without any reports of side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if music therapy is safe when pregnant or breast-feeding. However, there’s no reason to suspect safety concerns when used appropriately.

Children: Music therapy is possibly safe in infants and children. High levels of noise or music might stunt the growth of newborn infants. Infants should also not be overstimulated with music. Music interventions in infants shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes.

Are there any drug interactions?

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there any interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there any interactions with food?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

Music therapy can involve listening to music, making music, or taking part in activities involving music. There are many different types of music therapy. Music therapists can design individual plans, sometimes combining music therapy with other therapies or treatments. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out how to use music therapy for a specific condition.

By what other names is the product known?

Active Music Therapy, Calming Music Therapy, Contingent Music, Dinner Music Intervention, Evocative Music, Expressive Therapy, Five-Element Music Therapy, Group Chanting and Singing, Group Drumming, Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), Improvisational Music Therapy, Individualized Music-Focused Auditory Therapy (IMAT), Instructional Music Therapy, Interactive Music Therapy, Karaoke Therapy, Live Music Therapy, Lullaby Therapy, Lyric Analysis, Mandalas, Medical Resonance Therapy Music (MRT-Music), Melodic Intonation Therapy, MT, Music And Movement, Music-Assisted Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Music-Assisted Reframing, Music-Based Imagery, Music-Based Movement Therapy, Music-Based Intervention, Music Exposure Therapy, Music In Therapy, Music Intervention, Music Listening Intervention, Music Medicine, Music Stimulation, Music Therapy, Music-Reinforced Therapy, Music-Video Therapy, Musical Games, Musical Motor Feedback (MMF), Musicokinetic Therapy, Orff-Based Music Therapy, Passive Music Therapy, Ragas, Receptive Music Therapy, Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation, Traditional Chinese Medicine Five-Element Music Therapy.

Information on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While evidence-based, it is not guaranteed to be error-free and is not intended to meet any particular user’s needs or requirements or to cover all possible uses, safety concerns, interactions, outcomes, or adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or other medical professional before making healthcare decisions (including taking any medication) and do not delay or disregard seeking medical advice or treatment based on any information displayed on this website.

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