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Music therapy for anxiety relief

Music therapy for anxiety relief

Reliet, Ph. Therapy is a MMusic of treatment aimed at resolving mental or emotional issues. Reliec suggest tuerapy music with a Intense interval training tempo can be considered to be one of Music therapy for anxiety relief most significant determinants of audio-related effects on stress reduction e. Music Therapy Music therapy is defined as the clinical and evidence-informed use of music interventions 2 to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship in order to meet physical, emotional, mental, social and cognitive needs American Music Therapy Association [AMTA], ; De Witte et al. Experiment now. Ziebland, A.

Music therapy for anxiety relief -

Music therapists in all three focus groups referred to this receptive intervention for stress reduction. The personalized playlists can include both recorded musical improvisations and compositions made during the music therapy session s , as well as pre-existing music of personal preference.

The music therapists mentioned some stress-reducing interventions outside of the musical context, which are related to the therapeutic attitude of the music therapist. A majority of the Dutch focus group participants stated that creating a framework may offer support to the patient.

This framework can be seen as a solid base of structure visible in both the interventions within the music and the way the music therapists interact with their patients. Most of the music therapists considered the level of autonomy self-control they offered their patients, as an important aspect of the therapeutic attitude for reaching stress relief in patients with MID.

The degree of autonomy provided to the patient depended on their individual needs and their capability to handle their self-control.

This sentiment was echoed by the German participants. Participants of two focus groups mentioned some factors that could possibly influence the stress-reducing effect of the applied music therapy interventions. To keep the results as close as possible to the initial data, we report a summary of the responses of the music therapists to this specific question.

The degree of intellectual impairment was considered as a factor for determining the choice of interventions. The Belgian music therapists stated that the degree of intellectual impairment i. They explained that when working with patients with MID from the upper segment of the IQ range, they often use rhythm-oriented interventions, such as drumming in the same beat or tapping along with the music on small percussion instruments.

This is in contrast to interventions they offered to patients with MID in the lower segment of the IQ-range, which were characterized by a more multi-sensory approach and the use of tonal instruments.

Another factor possibly influencing the choice for a certain intervention was the mood or preference of the music therapist himself. We discuss the implications of the results of this study by comparing them with the literature at large.

Furthermore, we explore the facets of stress reduction, the musical components connected with such, and consider limitations of this study while providing implications for future practice, theory, and research. Results of the present study distinguished two ways of intervening to reduce stress in adults with MID, which are related to the therapy goals mentioned by the music therapists.

The achievement of musical synchronization with the patient, which can be regarded as a sub goal, often precedes working on one of the other two goals: release of tension or direct relaxation , which clearly leads to two different ways of intervening during music therapy.

After this, the music therapist further increases the intensity of the music, for example by accelerating the music tempo, so that the patient can release the felt tension. When the music intensity has come to a climax, the music therapist starts to slowly decrease the intensity of the music and actively guides the patient to decrease the music tempo to 60—80 bpm beats per minute.

This corresponds with previous research, which suggests that the tempo and dynamics of music are important for the experienced intensity of the music Gabrielsson and Lindström, The second way of intervening is related to the achievement of direct relaxation.

This technique can also be used to affect physiological responses, such as heart rate and blood pressure Davis et al. Studies suggest that music with a slow tempo can be considered to be one of the most significant determinants of audio-related effects on stress reduction e. Tempo and changes in tempo can influence different physiological and neurological responses, such as arousal, motor activity and motivation Roth, , this means that music with a slow tempo and steady rhythm may provide stress reduction by altering inherent body rhythms, such as heart rate Thaut et al.

Therefore, an increase in music tempo can lead to the increased activation of the nervous system, muscle tension and heart rate, whereas a decrease of the tempo can lead to muscle relaxation and a lowered heart rate resulting in more relaxation Bernardi et al.

The present study makes a clear distinction between active and receptive music therapy interventions, which is in line with the music therapy literature e.

The results show that the participants of this study prefer the use of active music therapy interventions to reduce stress in adults with MID compared to receptive interventions. Surprisingly, active improvisation interventions for stress reduction were used and few to none receptive interventions, whilst in reviews and meta-analyses on the effects of music or music therapy interventions on stress-related outcomes mainly receptive music listening interventions could be included e.

Although none of these reviews and meta-analyses included adult patients with MID, it raises the question of whether music therapists should use receptive interventions more frequently because of their effects on stress reduction.

On the other hand, there is evidence showing that action-based interventions are very suitable to adults with MID Cuijpers et al. Results show that the participants of this study commonly used active improvisation interventions for stress reduction, while their use of receptive intervention processes was either limited or non-existent.

Literature suggests that improvisational methods are highly common in music therapy; within musical improvisation, patient s and therapist improvise on musical instruments they have chosen and play together freely or with a given structure Wigram, ; Gold et al. Gold et al.

In addition, musical improvisation can also be seen as a mode of self-expression, where the expressive character of musical interactions enables the release of difficult or repressed emotions Burns et al. Results of this study identified some factors that may contribute to the explanation of the perceived effects of specific music therapy interventions for stress reduction in adults with MID.

Examples of this are the use of mantra techniques, which have a repetitive character, or the choice for a simple harmonic structure, which seems to provide support. This fits the concept of the technique Vocal Holding, in which the music therapist is vocally following, supporting, and mirroring the patient while accompanying with only two piano chords, to create an atmosphere that is safe and predictable during improvising Monti and Austin, The importance of implementing a solid structure is also emphasized when reviewing the interventions outside of the music, which are focused on establishing a clear, predictable and above all a safe framework for the patient, giving the patient the support and confidence to play, experiment and express themselves within the offered framework.

Strong similarities can be seen between the possible change factors found in this study and the general characteristics that can positively influence the quality of care or treatment of people with MID. Literature shows that psychological treatment for people with MID may benefit from a clear structure and predictability Ten Wolde et al.

Creating favorable environmental conditions, such as a predictable course of events in daily life or a clear structure of the therapeutic session based on small feasible steps, can enhance feelings of safeness and reduce stress in people with MID, which will benefit treatment Didden, These important factors, which can be seen as treatment guidelines for adults with MID, are in line with the possible change factors found in this study, such as the creation of a predictable musical structure.

In order to show international practice-based knowledge, the current study was conducted in three different countries, since results related to the specific context of one country may not be relevant to other countries.

Firstly, international definitions of MID and subsequent clinical care for adults with MID differs between countries Moonen, Secondly, music therapy education differs among countries with regard to music therapy methods and general theories.

As only three countries were involved, each with close proximity to each other, results are unlikely to be generalizable. Replication of this study across different continents is strongly recommended. With respect to some of the other results, more research is needed to be able to generalize findings, especially regarding change factors.

The initial research questions focused on how and in what way music therapists could lower stress levels of patients with MID instead of exploring why interventions can lead to stress reduction.

Data-analysis revealed some of these possible change factors, and we decided to report them see Table 1. Several techniques were applied to enhance the quality of the present study.

We found this particularly important because this is the first study in which music therapists in clinical practice were interviewed about their music therapy interventions to reduce stress in patients with MID.

Firstly, results show two main ways to reach stress reduction. Therefore, it is important that music therapists, prior to the intervention, have a clear understanding of the needs of their patient and the most fitting goal stress release or direct relaxation , so that the most suitable interventions can be applied.

Secondly, the present study shows that improvisation is the most commonly used intervention by music therapists to reduce stress in adults with MID see Table 1 for an overview of the different types of the mentioned improvisation-based interventions.

When using improvisation-based interventions to reduce stress in patients with MID, according to the present study, there are some key elements that can positively influence the effect of the intervention. Namely, the use of simple musical structures, which means that the improvisation has a repetitive and predictable character.

This may enhance feelings of safety, which is especially important for the clinical treatment of adults with MID Didden, and can therefore increase the effect of improvisation. Thirdly we believe that the results of the present study may provide a useful basis for the further development of more explicit music therapy intervention descriptions for stress reduction in patients with MID.

According to the previous work of Robb et al. Moreover, Hanson-Abromeit adds the importance of defining the purpose and intention of each musical element in the descriptions of music therapy interventions, such as the specific use of musical techniques within musical improvisation.

Fourthly, with the findings of the current study, we kindly recommend that other health care professionals responsible for referral to therapy e. Indeed, from neurological perspectives, music is intrinsically motivating, drives motor function and elicits emotional responses Thaut and Hoemberg, ; Koelsch et al.

Moreover, according to the music therapists of the present study, it is the structure of music which provides a sense of safety, which benefits treatment in adults with MID.

However, although psychologists often recognize that the use of music in daily life helps to manage stress, they still appreciate additional knowledge about why and when a music therapist should be involved in the treatment of their patients Magee, ; Aalbers et al.

Our findings not only provide more insight into the different types of music therapy interventions for stress reduction, but also into the related goals, techniques, and change factors.

This helps to understand when, why, and how music therapy can be effective for stress reduction, which reinforces referral to music therapy on the basis of substantive grounds.

In addition, the results of the present study demonstrate the need for a clear and thorough assessment of patient with MID before any therapeutic intervention should be initiated. The findings of this study may help to implement music therapy interventions for stress reduction in adults with MID, but more research is needed to assess the effectiveness and applicability of these interventions.

It would be relevant to replicate this and future studies in other parts of the world. In future research it is recommended to add research questions on therapeutic change factors, which may help to explain why the interventions used possibly lead to stress reduction. We also strongly recommend a study employing a systematic review methodology — such as a meta-synthesis — to analyze music therapy literature regarding possible change factors, as the number of empirical studies has increased in recent years.

Finally, we would welcome the development of standardized intervention descriptions, like music therapy protocols, to enhance treatment fidelity, enabling more robust research on the effects of music therapy.

Detailed intervention descriptions within research are essential for replication and translation of music therapy interventions to clinical practice Stouffer et al. The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Written informed consent to participate in this study was provided by the participants. All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.

This study was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek grant number The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Countless experts have investigated how listening to music can potentially have therapeutic effects on a range of mental and physical health conditions, or just as a way to cope with everyday life. Contemporary research suggests music has significant power to help reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, and improve focus among many more benefits.

Stress — the feeling of emotional tension, overwhelm, or feeling unable to cope — affects us mentally and physically. Stress has a biological impact that causes your body to release specific hormones and chemicals that activate your brain in certain ways.

Short term, cortisol can help us find the focus and energy we need to deal with a difficult situation, but when the body is exposed to excess cortisol for a prolonged period of time, it causes perpetual, exhausting states of fight, flight, or freeze.

Ongoing or chronic stress can lead to developing an anxiety disorder , depression , chronic pain, and more. Across time and space, music has had tremendous success as a tool for stress relief.

While some types of music such as classical and ambient have long been studied for their calming effects, listening to your personal favorite music of any genre also has benefits.

A overview of research into music and stress suggests that listening to music can:. As of , the average hearing person across the world listened to 18 hours of music a week!

This number is likely to be even higher in In recent years, this research has expanded in exciting and surprising new directions. Meditation is an ancient tradition that is practiced in cultures all over the world and is an integral part of some religions and types of yoga.

There are many types of mediation, and people use some types to help treat mental and physical health conditions. Usually, meditation aims to focus, center, calm, or direct your attention.

It can also help relax our bodies. So it can pair well with music for some people. Often, music used for meditation has a slow tempo, which can reduce heart rate, and also lower anxiety and stress levels. Guided meditation involves music with a narrator or speaker that directs your energy flow and focus, or offers positive affirmations.

Music therapy is different from just listening to music, although listening is a big part of it! Music therapists work with a variety of patients of all ages.

Like other forms of therapy, including art therapy , music therapists plan individualized sessions to help you meet your goals. Music therapy can include goal-oriented music listening, playing and composing music, and songwriting, among other activities.

A study compared the effects of music therapy with a therapist versus music medicine where music was played without a therapist among people with cancer. How does it work? Scientists believe the effect may result from music actually shifting brain activity away from pain-related connectivity patterns, as well as creating positive emotions, and offering a distraction.

Stress causes emotional and psychological pain as well, which music can help alleviate. Listening to music has been shown to improve focus on certain tasks, especially if the task is more complex.

In one recent experiment , participants were asked to press a button anytime the hand on a special clock started moving. Anxiety , stress, and pain often hang out together. Music may be one way to help manage them and their troublemaking. As some of the previously discussed research indicates, music can help reduce anxiety in both adults and children before and during medical procedures.

In one study of over critically ill patients, 30 minutes of music therapy a day was consistently associated with lower rates of anxiety and stress. The sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of your central nervous system are involuntary or automatic, meaning they work without you having to think about them.

One study shows that some types of music may also be a way to reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system quicker following a period of increased heart rate, like after exercising. Certain genres of lyric-less music, like classical and ambient, are historically the subject of most research studies into music and stress.

For many of the studies mentioned in this article, music listening involved multiple genres or songs chosen by both the participants and the researchers. We also use different kinds of music for different purposes.

Since we all have special relationships with our favorite songs and genres, we can use those to invoke certain emotions and feelings unique to that relationship. For example:. Listening to your favorite music has more benefits than you realize.

Music is certainly not a magical cure, nor is it a substitute for therapy, medication, surgery, or any other medical treatments. But music can be an important element of your well-being and self-care on a daily basis, as well as a helpful partner in dealing with more acute health conditions.

But ultimately, perhaps the most important takeaway is: keep listening! If you have an anxiety disorder or just the occasional feeling of anxiety, consider deep breathing to help soothe your worries. Living with anxiety may be overwhelming, but these tips will help you calm down quickly if you're having a difficult time at the moment.

If you're feeling stressed, essential oils may help you relax or recharge. Here are the 10 best essential oils for stress.

The stress response serves its purpose. Learn more about what it does to your body and what happens if it becomes chronic. Meditation offers many benefits, and an app can help you make this practice a habit.

Being able to communicate openly about stress can help couples navigate some relationship troubles more easily. If you're feeling stressed, drinking a hot or cold cup of tea may help.

Here are the 10 best teas for stress in Whether you're looking for a meditation, anxiety, PTSD, or sleep help app, we've got you covered.

Here are the best free mental health apps in From self-help books to aromatherapy, apps to weighted blankets, we've compiled the 10 best anxiety relief products of Anxiety disorders are common types of mental health conditions. We explain the type of anxiety disorders, including phobias and generalized anxiety….

Domestic Violence Screening Quiz Emotional Type Quiz Loneliness Quiz Parenting Style Quiz Personality Test Relationship Quiz Stress Test What's Your Sleep Like? Psych Central.

What Anxieety is social anxiety and how can Musiic therapy Bone strength improvement me to manage it? Therappy you feel anxietty when therapt by other people? Does being the center of attention make your theray turn? Antioxidant foods for liver health so, you may be one of Dealing with cravings of adults in the United States who suffer from social anxiety. Social anxiety is different from being an introvert or having a shy personality; it is more impactful and can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health. Many people with social anxiety use some type of wellness strategy to help reduce their stress and anxiety. There are a variety of techniques and therapies that people with social anxiety can use to lessen symptoms, one of them being music therapy.

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Sounds foor rain, thunder, and nature sounds may also be relaxing particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical the "largo" movementand easy listening music. Since with music we are rarely told the beats per minute, how do you choose the relaxation music that is best for you?

The answer partly rests with you: You must first like the music being played, and then it must relax you. You could start by simply exploring the music on this web page. Some may relax you, some may not. Forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that irritates you can create tension, not reduce it.

If that happens, try looking for alternatives on the internet or consult with Counseling Service staff for other musical suggestions.

It is important to remember that quieting your mind does not mean you will automatically feel sleepy. It means your brain and body are relaxed, and with your new calm self, you can then function at your best in many activities.

Lovely contemporary piano music with accompanying instruments and nature scenes. Echoes of Time C. Carlos Nakai from the Canyon Trilogy. Serene Native American flute music, with a picture of Nakai backlit by the sun at the Grand Canyon.

The Winding Path Ken Kern from The Winding Path. Highly rated, beautiful piano music with accompanying instruments with pictures of exquisite flowers and plants. Classical Indian Music for Healing and Relaxing Gayatri Govindarajan, "Pure Deep Meditation" track.

Lovely and rhythmic music played on the veena, the most ancient of the Indian plucked-instruments, with nature scenes. Angels of Venice Angels of Venice from Music for Harp, Flute and Cello. Classical with 3 instruments with nature pictures. Reflective but strong contemporary music utilizing various instruments and occasional humming voices with colorful oscillating fractals.

Spa Relaxing Music Tranquil contemporary instrumental with piano and a fixed candle light. Relaxation Music: 1-Hour Meditation Candle Serene contemporary instrumental with piano and one flickering candle. Sleep Deeply Dan Gibson. Nature sounds and instrumental, tranquil sleep music.

Weightless Marconi Union. The sounds on this video are carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines that help slow a listener's heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower levels of the cortisol stress hormone.

Releasing stress through the power of music Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. Experiment now. Experience a "sound bath" and let the music carry you away The links below each open relaxing musical selections in YouTube.

Reflective but strong contemporary music utilizing various instruments and occasional humming voices with colorful oscillating fractals Spa Relaxing Music Tranquil contemporary instrumental with piano and a fixed candle light.

: Music therapy for anxiety relief

Music Therapy for Social Anxiety Sign up free. Here is an example of a playlist qnxiety a therapu compiled for therayp Go from anxious to relaxed! Perceived control Fherapy a longitudinal snxiety Antioxidant foods for liver health Boost positivity and happiness stressors thearpy depressive symptoms. However, making tacit knowledge explicit may stimulate transferability of valuable clinical practices, and may stimulate a different way of thinking about the relationship between clinical practice, theory, and research Aigen, ; Smeijsters and Vink, ; Stige, ; furthermore, making tacit knowledge explicit may lead to the development of intervention descriptions derived directly from clinical practice, such as intervention manuals or therapy protocols, for which there is still a great need Aalbers et al. It can decrease anxiety and improve self-esteem. How does it work?
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Start with your own music collection. Your previous associations with pieces of music determine the manner in which you will respond to them.

Memories, especially emotional memories, are stimulated by music and can take us back in time in an instant. You already have labeled certain music as happy, sad, energizing, disturbing, and so on. Trust yourself and how you believe songs will make you feel. Once you identify what it is about music that makes you feel a certain way, you might want to supplement your current collection by finding new music that contains similar characteristics choral voices or emphasized percussion.

Place pieces of music into different categories according to your common moods like, sluggish, depressed, nervous, tired, anxious, stressed, and so on. You know what you like and should be able to find enough variety within your preferred music to match different moods.

This could explain why we tend to enjoy music that we find relatable or music that speaks to us in some way. Songs can validate our feelings and actually provide comfort when they match our mood. For instance, listening to sad music actually causes our brains to produce the same neurochemical that is released when we cry.

This chemical, prolactin, helps to elicit feelings of comfort, meaning that listening to a sad song when we are feeling down not only provides empathy, it is causing our brains to start to try to make us feel better!

Think about how you feel right now. How fast are you moving inside and out : is your heart racing? Are you feeling sluggish? Are you feeling heavy? How fast are you breathing? Before trying to change your mood with music, you will need to match it. This is easier done when you can consider different musical elements:.

When lyrics are included in a piece of music, more of our brains are used to process these lyrics. They might also stimulate more memories.

If you are using music for the purpose of trying to relax, you want to allow your mind to wander without consciously focusing on the music. This is more challenging when lyrics are involved. Consider choosing instrumental music or a song where the lyrics reflect the way you are feeling.

As noted earlier, consider your goal. Do you want to feel energetic, happy, relaxed, or optimistic after listening to your playlist?

With your intended mood in mind, think of how you might organize the songs to bring you from your current emotional state to your desired.

For example, if you started with an up-tempo piece of music that matched your initial state of high anxiety, find something a little slower for your next song. If you are trying to move toward a more relaxed state, select a piece of music that is slightly slower for your third song.

The third piece should also have less instrumentation or vocals. The idea is to decrease the amount of stimulation in the music so that your playlist can facilitate a gradual transition while allowing you time to adjust to the music.

Select songs that are at least three minutes long and make sure your playlist contains at least thirty minutes of music. You want to give your body plenty of time to experience your current emotion and adjust physiologically with the music.

When intended, music can provide comfort during difficult times and also promote relaxation. You might be thinking that music is more complicated than you originally thought.

It is! Although there is much to consider when using music therapeutically, humans have a particular knack for choosing music that soothes and heals them, without having to think too much about the technical aspects.

Trust the way you feel, and if you think you might need more assistance with this process, consult a board-certified music therapist. Jenni Rook is a board-certified music therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor.

She serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Therapy through the Arts ITA , practicing music therapy for nearly 10 years. Jenni specializes in medical settings, using music for speech rehabilitation and counseling individuals coping with trauma, anxiety, and medical conditions.

Her experience also includes working with children diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities. Jenni holds leadership positions in music therapy associations and is certified in Neurological Music Therapy.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Our content does not constitute medical advice and is for informational purposes only.

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , social anxiety affects more than 15 million adults in the United States alone. There are a variety of coping strategies that people use to manage social anxiety. Many people also seek professional help and treatment; one option for treatment is music therapy.

Music therapy involves using therapeutic techniques along with music in a variety of ways to meet the physical and emotional needs of patients.

This includes two main branches - active and passive music therapy. In active music therapy, a music therapist engages the patient in a variety of different exercises. This can include, but is not limited to, singing or playing an instrument. Passive music therapy is just as helpful, but involves a patient listening to either live or recorded music.

During a music therapy session, a licensed music therapist will use a combination of both active and passive music therapy. Some of the following include:.

These are only some of the ways that music therapy can help with social anxiety. More information can be found here.

If you suffer from social anxiety, you are far from alone. Social anxiety affects millions of people, and there are professionals available to help you decrease your anxiety.

Professional music therapists will meet your needs on both an emotional and physical level. Overall, music therapy has the ability to change your life and help you manage social anxiety in a beneficial and healthy way.

Incadence is transforming the health care industry. By joining our team, you can be a part of this revolution and a leader in health care. About Us FAQ Contact Us Who We Serve Blog. Music Therapy for Social Anxiety What exactly is social anxiety and how can music therapy help me to manage it?

How music therapy can reduce social anxiety. Mason Thompson is a high school senior, dog lover, and coffee enthusiast in Owensboro, Ky. She is thrilled to have completed a writing internship with Incadence during her final semester of high school. In the Fall she is excited to begin Brown University with a major in psychology with addition studies in women's and gender studies and sociology.

Following her internship, She has stayed on the Incadence staff and is hopeful her writing will continue to help inform individuals about music therapy and healthcare. You Might Also Like Find Your Life Rhythm Through These 5 Life Coaching Techniques.

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How Music Can Be Mental Health Care The Muzic Antioxidant foods for liver health in vocal psychotherapy. How Slitting Services Fpr Precision in Manufacturing Medical Components. Thaut, M. Antioxidant foods for liver health Functional fitness workouts emotion-regulating foor music therapy to reduce depressive symptoms in young adult students: a multiple-case study design. Rehabil Health 4:e The present study makes a clear distinction between active and receptive music therapy interventions, which is in line with the music therapy literature e. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
What is Music Therapy?

Echoes of Time C. Carlos Nakai from the Canyon Trilogy. Serene Native American flute music, with a picture of Nakai backlit by the sun at the Grand Canyon. The Winding Path Ken Kern from The Winding Path.

Highly rated, beautiful piano music with accompanying instruments with pictures of exquisite flowers and plants. Classical Indian Music for Healing and Relaxing Gayatri Govindarajan, "Pure Deep Meditation" track.

Lovely and rhythmic music played on the veena, the most ancient of the Indian plucked-instruments, with nature scenes. Angels of Venice Angels of Venice from Music for Harp, Flute and Cello. Classical with 3 instruments with nature pictures.

Reflective but strong contemporary music utilizing various instruments and occasional humming voices with colorful oscillating fractals. Spa Relaxing Music Tranquil contemporary instrumental with piano and a fixed candle light. Relaxation Music: 1-Hour Meditation Candle Serene contemporary instrumental with piano and one flickering candle.

Sleep Deeply Dan Gibson. Nature sounds and instrumental, tranquil sleep music. All the participants agreed with this report, and none of them suggested any additional comments or changes.

The open coding initially showed a mixture of many different types of music therapy interventions, in which a distinction could be made between interventions within the music and interventions outside of the music.

Three types of therapeutic goals were mentioned by the music therapists related to stress reduction in adults with MID: synchronizing with the patient as a starting point for stress reduction , releasing stress or tension by self-expression , and stimulating relaxation.

The music therapists stated that in general these goals do not stand alone but are used in succession of or in combination with each other. This means that the goal of achieving synchronization with the patient within the music can be seen as a sub goal, and often precedes working on the goals related to the release of tension or direct relaxation.

Table 1 shows a detailed overview of all the mentioned interventions and related characteristics. Because the data did not provide a detailed description of every mentioned intervention, not all columns could be filled for all the interventions mentioned.

Nevertheless, in order to provide a realistic representation of the results we chose to show all the findings, even if this meant that some areas of the table would be left blank.

The open coding indicated that the interventions within the music could be categorized in two domains: active and receptive music therapy interventions.

The axial coding led to several different types of active interventions, and two types of receptive interventions. The active interventions mentioned were categorized in a number of subcategories see Table 1. For each of these subcategories, the coding led to several intervention characteristics, such as associated therapeutic goals, the musical instruments that were used, and the change factors that may possibly clarify the effect of the chosen intervention.

Improvisation-based interventions concerned the first type of active interventions. The music therapists agreed that improvisational method was one of the most often used active interventions.

Most music therapists mentioned that they mainly preferred to use free improvisation , meaning that they start improvising with patients without using a pre-determined musical structure or certain rules for the music-making.

Participants appeared to identify two main therapeutic goals within free and structured improvisation: tension release and reaching direct relaxation. Synchronization is also mentioned as a goal, but the participants explained that they used it more as a sub goal.

Concerning synchronization as a sub goal, no specific musical instruments were mentioned. As a therapist you hope that they synchronize with the music [participant 11, music therapist in Belgium]. The first therapeutic goal for improvisation-based interventions concerned releasing experienced tension , which the music therapist tries to achieve by increasing the intensity of the music.

Piano and percussion instruments were named as the musical instruments most often used in free improvisation interventions aiming at tension release. From there I often continue with the release of tension by playing faster and faster through differences in dynamics and in tempo [participant 9, music therapist in Germany].

Participants also noted direct relaxation as a therapeutic goal in improvisation-based interventions. Free improvisation aiming at relaxation is mainly characterized by the simplicity of the musical structures, such as playing in a low tonal register, using simple chord progressions, making minimal changes in music tempo or melodic intonation, and using easy-to-play musical instruments e.

In contrast to free improvisation aiming at the release of tension, free improvisation for direct relaxation is characterized by the use of a consistently low tempo, while changes in melody, harmonics, and tempo are kept to a minimum.

The music therapists stated that it is precisely this simplicity of the musical improvisation that provides the patient with feelings of support and containment, both of which be regarded as certain change factors for achieving stress reduction in adults with MID.

To reach relaxation by using free improvisation, three improvisation techniques Bruscia, were regarded as helpful by some of the music therapists, i. That is how I see it. When patients with MID are highly tensioned, they have to experience themselves more, their own body, otherwise they lose it.

By using a steady and solid beat, they feel it in their body, which is an important experience for them and helps them [participant 8, music therapist in Germany].

Interventions concerning singing by patients were singing well-known European-based cultural songs, singing the Greek Sirtaki mentioned by one music therapist and the use of the same opening song at the start of every session.

The Greek Sirtaki intervention focuses on releasing tension and stimulating self-expression and is characterized by a slow increase of the music tempo, and clear rhythmic structures.

The music therapist who often used this intervention clarified that the clearly defined rhythmic structure particularly promotes stress release in MID patients with externalizing behavioral patterns and can be seen as a possible change factor.

The presence of a repeating musical structure and familiarity can be regarded as possible change factors related to these effects see Table 1. One of the participating music therapists clarified that music therapeutic songwriting can stimulate exposure to stress-causing situations and thereby help patients to release stress.

Several other music therapists added that recordings of self-composed songs could also be helpful for patients to reduce stress by listening to the recordings outside of the music therapy session. Some of the active interventions mentioned by the music therapists did not fit any of the previously described categories, but were based on a certain methodic framework Hegi, Schuhmacher, or Ronnie-Gardiner or the more protocol-oriented music therapy interventions Neurologic Music Therapy [NMT].

In addition to the active interventions, the music therapists of this study also mentioned one receptive intervention, namely creating a personalized playlist for relaxation. Music therapists in all three focus groups referred to this receptive intervention for stress reduction.

The personalized playlists can include both recorded musical improvisations and compositions made during the music therapy session s , as well as pre-existing music of personal preference.

The music therapists mentioned some stress-reducing interventions outside of the musical context, which are related to the therapeutic attitude of the music therapist. A majority of the Dutch focus group participants stated that creating a framework may offer support to the patient.

This framework can be seen as a solid base of structure visible in both the interventions within the music and the way the music therapists interact with their patients. Most of the music therapists considered the level of autonomy self-control they offered their patients, as an important aspect of the therapeutic attitude for reaching stress relief in patients with MID.

The degree of autonomy provided to the patient depended on their individual needs and their capability to handle their self-control. This sentiment was echoed by the German participants. Participants of two focus groups mentioned some factors that could possibly influence the stress-reducing effect of the applied music therapy interventions.

To keep the results as close as possible to the initial data, we report a summary of the responses of the music therapists to this specific question.

The degree of intellectual impairment was considered as a factor for determining the choice of interventions. The Belgian music therapists stated that the degree of intellectual impairment i. They explained that when working with patients with MID from the upper segment of the IQ range, they often use rhythm-oriented interventions, such as drumming in the same beat or tapping along with the music on small percussion instruments.

This is in contrast to interventions they offered to patients with MID in the lower segment of the IQ-range, which were characterized by a more multi-sensory approach and the use of tonal instruments.

Another factor possibly influencing the choice for a certain intervention was the mood or preference of the music therapist himself. We discuss the implications of the results of this study by comparing them with the literature at large.

Furthermore, we explore the facets of stress reduction, the musical components connected with such, and consider limitations of this study while providing implications for future practice, theory, and research.

Results of the present study distinguished two ways of intervening to reduce stress in adults with MID, which are related to the therapy goals mentioned by the music therapists. The achievement of musical synchronization with the patient, which can be regarded as a sub goal, often precedes working on one of the other two goals: release of tension or direct relaxation , which clearly leads to two different ways of intervening during music therapy.

After this, the music therapist further increases the intensity of the music, for example by accelerating the music tempo, so that the patient can release the felt tension. When the music intensity has come to a climax, the music therapist starts to slowly decrease the intensity of the music and actively guides the patient to decrease the music tempo to 60—80 bpm beats per minute.

This corresponds with previous research, which suggests that the tempo and dynamics of music are important for the experienced intensity of the music Gabrielsson and Lindström, The second way of intervening is related to the achievement of direct relaxation.

This technique can also be used to affect physiological responses, such as heart rate and blood pressure Davis et al. Studies suggest that music with a slow tempo can be considered to be one of the most significant determinants of audio-related effects on stress reduction e.

Tempo and changes in tempo can influence different physiological and neurological responses, such as arousal, motor activity and motivation Roth, , this means that music with a slow tempo and steady rhythm may provide stress reduction by altering inherent body rhythms, such as heart rate Thaut et al.

Therefore, an increase in music tempo can lead to the increased activation of the nervous system, muscle tension and heart rate, whereas a decrease of the tempo can lead to muscle relaxation and a lowered heart rate resulting in more relaxation Bernardi et al.

The present study makes a clear distinction between active and receptive music therapy interventions, which is in line with the music therapy literature e.

The results show that the participants of this study prefer the use of active music therapy interventions to reduce stress in adults with MID compared to receptive interventions. Surprisingly, active improvisation interventions for stress reduction were used and few to none receptive interventions, whilst in reviews and meta-analyses on the effects of music or music therapy interventions on stress-related outcomes mainly receptive music listening interventions could be included e.

Although none of these reviews and meta-analyses included adult patients with MID, it raises the question of whether music therapists should use receptive interventions more frequently because of their effects on stress reduction.

On the other hand, there is evidence showing that action-based interventions are very suitable to adults with MID Cuijpers et al. Results show that the participants of this study commonly used active improvisation interventions for stress reduction, while their use of receptive intervention processes was either limited or non-existent.

Literature suggests that improvisational methods are highly common in music therapy; within musical improvisation, patient s and therapist improvise on musical instruments they have chosen and play together freely or with a given structure Wigram, ; Gold et al.

Gold et al. In addition, musical improvisation can also be seen as a mode of self-expression, where the expressive character of musical interactions enables the release of difficult or repressed emotions Burns et al.

Results of this study identified some factors that may contribute to the explanation of the perceived effects of specific music therapy interventions for stress reduction in adults with MID. Examples of this are the use of mantra techniques, which have a repetitive character, or the choice for a simple harmonic structure, which seems to provide support.

This fits the concept of the technique Vocal Holding, in which the music therapist is vocally following, supporting, and mirroring the patient while accompanying with only two piano chords, to create an atmosphere that is safe and predictable during improvising Monti and Austin, The importance of implementing a solid structure is also emphasized when reviewing the interventions outside of the music, which are focused on establishing a clear, predictable and above all a safe framework for the patient, giving the patient the support and confidence to play, experiment and express themselves within the offered framework.

Strong similarities can be seen between the possible change factors found in this study and the general characteristics that can positively influence the quality of care or treatment of people with MID. Literature shows that psychological treatment for people with MID may benefit from a clear structure and predictability Ten Wolde et al.

Creating favorable environmental conditions, such as a predictable course of events in daily life or a clear structure of the therapeutic session based on small feasible steps, can enhance feelings of safeness and reduce stress in people with MID, which will benefit treatment Didden, These important factors, which can be seen as treatment guidelines for adults with MID, are in line with the possible change factors found in this study, such as the creation of a predictable musical structure.

In order to show international practice-based knowledge, the current study was conducted in three different countries, since results related to the specific context of one country may not be relevant to other countries. Firstly, international definitions of MID and subsequent clinical care for adults with MID differs between countries Moonen, Secondly, music therapy education differs among countries with regard to music therapy methods and general theories.

As only three countries were involved, each with close proximity to each other, results are unlikely to be generalizable. Replication of this study across different continents is strongly recommended.

With respect to some of the other results, more research is needed to be able to generalize findings, especially regarding change factors.

The initial research questions focused on how and in what way music therapists could lower stress levels of patients with MID instead of exploring why interventions can lead to stress reduction. Data-analysis revealed some of these possible change factors, and we decided to report them see Table 1.

Several techniques were applied to enhance the quality of the present study. We found this particularly important because this is the first study in which music therapists in clinical practice were interviewed about their music therapy interventions to reduce stress in patients with MID.

Firstly, results show two main ways to reach stress reduction. Therefore, it is important that music therapists, prior to the intervention, have a clear understanding of the needs of their patient and the most fitting goal stress release or direct relaxation , so that the most suitable interventions can be applied.

Secondly, the present study shows that improvisation is the most commonly used intervention by music therapists to reduce stress in adults with MID see Table 1 for an overview of the different types of the mentioned improvisation-based interventions. When using improvisation-based interventions to reduce stress in patients with MID, according to the present study, there are some key elements that can positively influence the effect of the intervention.

Namely, the use of simple musical structures, which means that the improvisation has a repetitive and predictable character. This may enhance feelings of safety, which is especially important for the clinical treatment of adults with MID Didden, and can therefore increase the effect of improvisation.

Thirdly we believe that the results of the present study may provide a useful basis for the further development of more explicit music therapy intervention descriptions for stress reduction in patients with MID.

According to the previous work of Robb et al. Moreover, Hanson-Abromeit adds the importance of defining the purpose and intention of each musical element in the descriptions of music therapy interventions, such as the specific use of musical techniques within musical improvisation.

Fourthly, with the findings of the current study, we kindly recommend that other health care professionals responsible for referral to therapy e.

Indeed, from neurological perspectives, music is intrinsically motivating, drives motor function and elicits emotional responses Thaut and Hoemberg, ; Koelsch et al. Moreover, according to the music therapists of the present study, it is the structure of music which provides a sense of safety, which benefits treatment in adults with MID.

However, although psychologists often recognize that the use of music in daily life helps to manage stress, they still appreciate additional knowledge about why and when a music therapist should be involved in the treatment of their patients Magee, ; Aalbers et al.

Our findings not only provide more insight into the different types of music therapy interventions for stress reduction, but also into the related goals, techniques, and change factors. This helps to understand when, why, and how music therapy can be effective for stress reduction, which reinforces referral to music therapy on the basis of substantive grounds.

In addition, the results of the present study demonstrate the need for a clear and thorough assessment of patient with MID before any therapeutic intervention should be initiated. The findings of this study may help to implement music therapy interventions for stress reduction in adults with MID, but more research is needed to assess the effectiveness and applicability of these interventions.

It would be relevant to replicate this and future studies in other parts of the world. In future research it is recommended to add research questions on therapeutic change factors, which may help to explain why the interventions used possibly lead to stress reduction.

We also strongly recommend a study employing a systematic review methodology — such as a meta-synthesis — to analyze music therapy literature regarding possible change factors, as the number of empirical studies has increased in recent years.

Finally, we would welcome the development of standardized intervention descriptions, like music therapy protocols, to enhance treatment fidelity, enabling more robust research on the effects of music therapy.

Detailed intervention descriptions within research are essential for replication and translation of music therapy interventions to clinical practice Stouffer et al. The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Written informed consent to participate in this study was provided by the participants. All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.

This study was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek grant number The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Aalbers, S. Efficacy of emotion-regulating improvisational music therapy to reduce depressive symptoms in young adult students: a multiple-case study design. Arts Psychother.

doi: CrossRef Full Text Google Scholar. Development of an improvisational music therapy intervention for young adults with depressive symptoms: an intervention mapping study. under revision. Emotion-regulating improvisation music therapy for adult students with depressive symptoms: A process-evaluation using a multiple-case study design.

Google Scholar. Abbaszadeh, M. Compare academic self-efficacy and self-regulation among students with learning disorder and without learning disorder in normal elementary schools fourth and fifth grade of Kerman.

Agres, K. Music, Computing, and Health: A roadmap for the current and future roles of music technology for healthcare and well-being. Aigen, K. Revisiting edward: an exemplar of tacit knowledge. Music Ther. Aldwin, C.

Stress, Coping, and Development: An Integrative Perspective , 2nd Edn. New York, NY: Guilford Press. American Music Therapy Association [AMTA] Definition and Quotes About Music Therapy. What is Music Therapy? Silver Spring, MD: AMTA. American Psychiatric Association [APA] American Psychological Association [APA] Stress in America: Coping with change.

Washington, DC: APA. Australian Psychological Society [APS] Melbourne: APS. Bernardi, L. Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory changed induced by different types of music in musicians and non-musicians: the importance of silence.

BMJ Heart 92, — PubMed Abstract CrossRef Full Text Google Scholar. Björkman, I. Gender differences when using sedative music during colonoscopy. Bradt, J. Music interventions for mechanically ventilated patients. Cochrane Database Syst. Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients.

The impact of music therapy versus music medicine on psychological outcomes and pain in cancer patients: a mixed methods study. Care Cancer 23, — Brennand, R. Vocal emotion perception in pseudo-sentences by secondary-school children with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Spect. Bringman, H. Relaxing music as pre-medication before surgery: a randomized controlled trial. Acta Anaesthesiol. Bruscia, K. Improvisational Models of Music Therapy. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.

Defining music therapy. University Park, IL: Barcelona Publishers. Burns, S. A pilot study into the therapeutic effects of music therapy at a cancer help center. Health Med. Casey, G. Stress and disease. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zeal. Chanda, M. The neurochemistry of music. Trends Cogn. The elements of their therapy include establishing a therapeutic relationship with individuals and accomplishing their specific goals.

This therapy can be applied to the mental health setting and impact emotions through promoting wellness, managing stress, improving memory and communication, and expressing feelings. A meta-analysis of studies indicated that music therapy can be used to reduce anxiety symptoms and depression in adults.

This analysis revealed that music therapy helped with physical and mental relaxation, promoting overall well-being. This therapy allows patients to get in touch with their emotions and encourages interpersonal relationships with their therapists.

It can provide distraction and improve communication to overcome barriers and limitations, making music therapy effective in managing anxiety. A meta-analysis of music therapy and depression revealed that music can be beneficial in alleviating depressive symptoms. Music therapy was a valuable tool in conjunction with treatment as usual TAS in modulating moods and emotions.

It also showed that it effectively improved functioning and anxiety levels in people with depression. In a cancer study , music therapy demonstrated a reduction in depression and anxiety as a non-invasive method.

Medications are often used in cancer patients with depression. However, they can come with many side effects on the patient's mind and can create drug dependence. Therefore, music therapy shows promising benefits as a non-drug method in cancer patients to alleviate symptoms of depression.

There is increasing evidence that the use of clinical musical therapy can have beneficial effects on the brain. The neurological and physiological impact includes engaging the brain centers involved in emotion, motivation, cognition, and motor functions.

This therapy can improve socialization, emotional and neuromotor functioning. Music therapy can activate the limbic system, the reward and pleasure centers of the brain, thus positively impacting mood and promoting social cohesion, communication, and relationships.

This therapy can improve the psychosocial aspects of people struggling with mental health disorders and effects their overall emotional well-being by activating these various brain processes. Qualified music therapists will utilize various effective techniques in their sessions with people with anxiety and depression.

Firstly, they must assess each individual's needs and strengths, including discussing their emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, cognition, trauma history, and physiological responses. They may also discuss whether the patients have musical backgrounds and preferences.

After this assessment, the therapist will collaborate with the patient on goals and then create the appropriate music therapy. These sessions can be done in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers, clinics, and patients' homes. They can be done individually or in groups and can involve creating music, singing favorite pieces of music, or listening and moving to music.

They may also discuss the lyrics in music or use instruments. Regarding depression, music therapy may also be combined with other therapies, including psychological or pharmacological. These techniques all depend on the individual's preferences and abilities.

That is why the prior assessment is essential in determining the proper musical therapy program. As the research suggests, music therapy can be a beneficial option in treating conditions such as anxiety and depression, emphasizing its importance in continued research and increased usage.

The AMTA is leading the way in the future direction of research in music therapy and expanding its use in various conditions. The future direction focuses on consumer impact and their collaboration, clinician involvement that includes a team of clinician scholars, diverse methodologies, further developing the theory, growing research, and expanding partnerships.

Ultimately, the future of music therapy is to integrate research into the essential functions and increase access to the quality of music therapy services that benefit the clients and families who need it. Anxiety and depression can often be debilitating for people when it occurs chronically, resulting in decreased daily function and enjoyment in life.

Thankfully, there are many effective interventions for improving these conditions. One such intervention is music therapy. This intervention done in a clinical setting can support psychological, emotional, physical, social, and cognitive functions leading to decreased anxiety and depression.

Music therapy holds promise as an effective stand-alone or adjunctive treatment for mental health, allowing individuals with these conditions to thrive.

Music therapy for anxiety relief

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