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The Effects Of Music Therapy On Mentally Handicapped People

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The Effects of Music Therapy on Mentally Handicapped People

Music therapy is a controversial but effective form of rehabilitation on mentally handicapped people. A great amount of research has been completed on this subject. It has been proven that our brains respond to music as if it were medicine. Music therapy is not a commonly used health care, but recent studies have suggested it can have a wide range of benefits.

Music therapy is the prescribed use of music and related strategies, by a qualified therapist, to assist or motivate a person towards specific, non-musical goals. This process is used in order to restore, maintain, and improve emotional, physical, physiological, and spiritual health and well being. At the heart of music therapy is vibration. This is backed up by modern physics, which has taught us that all matter is in a constant state of vibration. Everything has a unique frequency. Illness occurs when some sort of dysfunctional vibration intrudes on the normal one. Sound can be used to change these intruders back to normal, healthy vibrations, which restores health.

Although music therapy is a fairly new method of health care, it dates back thousands of years. "The use of sound and music is the most ancient healing modality." It was practiced in the ancient mystery schools of Egypt, India, and Rome for many thousands of years. In the Iliad, Apollo, the mythical god of music and medicine, stopped a plague because he was so pleased with the sacred hymns sung by Greek youths. Pythagoras, who discovered that all music could be expressed in numbers and mathematical formulas, founded a school that trained students to


release worry, fear, anger, and sorrow through singing and playing musical instruments.

Today, the power of music remains the same, but music is used much differently than it was in ancient times. Music therapy in the United States began in the late 18th century. The profession of it began to develop during World War II when music was used in Veterans Administration Hospitals, as an intervention to address traumatic war injuries. Veterans participated in music activities that focused on relieving pain perception. Many doctors and nurses could see the effect music had on their psychological and emotional state.

Since then, colleges developed programs to train musicians how to use music for therapeutic purposes. In 1950 a professional organization was formed by a group of music therapists that worked with veterans, mentally retarded, and the hearing and visually impaired. This was the beginning of the National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT). In 1998, NAMT joined with another music therapy organization to become what is now known as the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). AMTA's mission is "To advance public awareness of the benefits of music therapy and increase access to quality music therapy services in a rapidly changing world."

Music therapy helps people in a crisis and assists those who may be dealing with issues of everyday living. The nature of music therapy encourages the development of positive self-esteem. Even though not everyone is supposed to be a musician, music therapy can be a way to explore the human need for self-expression and creativity. Through improvisation and song writing, it can


help to identify and resolve conflicts slowing down the emotional and personal growth. It can also assist in the rehabilitation of people with speech difficulties and facilitate learning, which provided opportunities for meaningful communication. Music therapy is a process which builds relationships. Because almost everyone responds to music at some level, it can be used to develop a trust relationship with the therapist and with other people.

There are many accomplishments that music therapy can make. It can manage pain, increase body movement, lower blood pressure, ease depression, and enhance concentration and creativity. These are just some of the few characteristics. It has been used in many other processes also.

It is important to be aware that while people may develop musical skills during treatment, these skills are not the main concern of the therapist. Rather it is the affect the musical development will have on the person's physical and psychological functioning. You can find music therapists working with a wide variety of people. Some include the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, those who have been abused, the elderly, the terminally ill, and people with learning disabilities. Because traditional therapeutic remedies rely on language, their effectiveness depends on the person's ability to verbally interact with the therapist. The language of music is available to everyone regardless of age, disability, or cultural background.

Studies have been made on the effects of chanting mantras on human physiology. It has been discovered that by repeating a single word, measurable changes are produced in energy consumption, respiration rate, heartbeat, pulse, and metabolic rate. Studies have further demonstrated that through meditation and relaxation, it's possible to improve immune function


and alleviate and prevent heart disease, stroke, and many other chronic health problems.

The mentally ill are the people that are the most common clients of music therapy. These are people with behavior disorders and emotional disturbance. For these people, music improves self-esteem, reduces stress, develops leisure activities, and improves control over motor skills.

Learning disabled individuals are another popular group of people for which music therapy is used. This group is explained as having a disorder that affects one or more psychological process involved in understanding or using language. Such disorders may affect an individual's ability to think, listen, speak, read, or write. The need for individualized instruction, repetition, and face to face interaction is necessary for improvement.

To become a qualified music therapist you must have an undergraduate and/or graduate degree in music therapy from university programs approved by the AMTA. You follow your degree with six months of full-time supervised clinical training. You must then be board-certified by the certification Board for Music Therapy and take a national exam. You maintain your status through continuing education and retesting.

Members of the client's treatment team prescribe music therapy. Members can include doctors, social workers, psychologists, teachers, caseworkers, and parents. Music therapists



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