Music therapy: entry into the world of sounds

"She only likes music when it's loud when she puts it in her stomach, " sang Herbert Grönemeyer in 1984, making it clear to many people for the first time that deaf people absorb and perceive vibrations through their bodies. However, the perception of vibrations is only one facet of music as therapy - the awakening of emotions and memories is another.

Music as a means of communication

Music serves as a means of communication. Not just to sing bland declarations of love under wobbly balconies or to bring out political beliefs loudly in the world.

In medicine, music has been used since antiquity to heal many ailments. From the realm of the Sumerians temple songs have been handed down, which were firmly integrated into healing rituals. Through antiquity until 1550 music was firmly for the education of the respective physicians. Music therapy is experiencing a strong upswing since World War II.

Today, music therapy is defined as the "purposeful use of music as part of the therapeutic relationship to restore, maintain and promote mental, physical and mental health". By this one understands all music therapeutic psychotherapeutic concepts, which are used in the medicine. It is not about "right" or "wrong" singing, or about whether the piano lessons were successful.

Musical access to people with depression

Music therapy is often used where the usual means of communication fail. For the most common mental and psychiatric illnesses of old age - depression and senile dementia - music therapy offers support and help. Depressed people who are trapped in their emotional world, often succeed with music to leave the emotional rigidity and get back on life.

The music therapy access to depressed people should, however, be left to the therapist. Music therapy is always integrated in a therapeutic overall concept and is competently looked after - just playing a CD is not enough.

Music therapy against forgetting

For seniors, music is the tool of choice to awaken memories. Because formative musical experiences are made in the youth and age-old people usually live in the reality of their childhood and youth, music therapists can build on experiences and experiences that their patients have not forgotten.

Many old-age patients who no longer remember the names of their relatives can easily sing songs from their youth. For many patients, this experience alone is a piece of life quality. Music addresses emotions that go far beyond verbal and cognitive skills.

Conversely, mobility can be stimulated again in this way: a dance to the music often follows spontaneously when rhythm and music communicate to the body. The recognition of this potential is the task of the music therapist, who has to deal with each individual patient accordingly. With the term "music lesson in the nursing home" one will certainly not do justice to the music therapy approach in geriatric care.

With rattles and soft strings

What kind of music, which instruments and to what extent music is used therapeutically, is decided by the therapist. Many therapists, for example, use Orffian instruments that do not require any musical education from patients.

If body awareness and perception are to be supported, a "sound chair" is also used. The patient sits upright with his back against his back in the chair, on the back of which steel strings are made to vibrate by the therapist. The sound is perceived in the chair throughout the body, with the spine forming the physical center of the vibration transmission.

Therapists appreciate the sound chair because it gives the patient an upright but comfortable posture that supports inner awareness and awareness. Above all, patients who are afraid of feeling at their mercy or who are very helpless because of a physical disability benefit from the new therapeutic tool. For infants and children or the severely disabled people, sound couches are also used, with which the sounds can be perceived over the entire body.

Relaxation for body and soul

Music - whether heard primarily or played itself - serves to emotionally address the patient and in this way to relieve tension and find communicative approaches to the patient. Accordingly, music is used as a building block in the mental and psychiatric treatment of children.

Because the sense of hearing remains functional for the longest, even the most seriously ill can be addressed via music. Studies have found that these patients can be addressed by hearing, through sounds, sounds and speech. At the same time sensations are carried along. Trust, security and closeness resonate. Measurements show that deeper and more regular breathing and a slower heartbeat follow - relaxation and calming occurs.

Music therapy for wake coma patients

Therefore, music therapy is used as an adjunctive therapy in patients in the wake coma. In these patients, external influences such as an accident, bleeding in the brain or temporary oxygen deficiency have caused lasting damage. It used to be thought that people in the vegetative state did not perceive their environment. Often, these patients lie with their eyes open, but almost motionless in their beds. It is difficult for outside observers to assess what is going on inside them.

Today we know that patients with coma in the wake respond to attention and specifically offered sensory stimuli. Many patients experience an improvement during waking coma, which can be temporary or permanent. Therefore, music therapy measures are also recommended by the Verband Deutscher Rentenversicherungsträger.

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