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soothing musicYou might have heard that "music hath charms to soothe the savage beast."

This aspect of music is the underlying basis for music therapy.

At first glance, music as a cure for disease may seem strange, but more people are won over to the idea when music is seen as a relaxation tool. Studies have shown that less stress = less illness.

Those suffering common maladies -- ranging from the common cold to depression or high blood pressure -- find comfort and lessened severity of symptoms while listening to music.

Music as therapy is not a new idea.

In Biblical times, it was David who famously played the harp to help sooth the troubled mind of King Saul. History has also shown that African tribes often used music as a cure, as did American Indians who used chants and dances to help heal patients.

In the modern era, music therapy first became established as a healing tool during World War II, when it was discovered that music therapy helped battle-weary soldiers overcome both emotional and physical trauma.

Today, music therapy is a bona fide method for treating psychiatric disorders, depression, autism, pain management, stroke recovery, and more.

Pregnant women's stress levels have been found to be eased by music therapy, resulting in less complications before childbirth. Premature babies who are sung to by their mothers, or who are otherwise exposed to music usually leave the ICU sooner than babies who are not.

And, not surprisingly, 16-year-olds with their iconic ear buds are found to be less likely rebelling than actually using music as a coping mechanism for the physical and emotional changes that the teen years bring.

Used in medicine and education, music has been found to enhance the body's ability to heal, physically and emotionally, and to integrate new information.

Despite the solid science behind music therapy, no one is absolutely sure how it works, but there is little doubt that it does (with thanks go to Matt Bush, for suggesting we develop this section, and then suggesting the resources) :

also see in Dance -> Dance therapy

More about music therapy around the Web:

American Music Therapy Association - Offering solid information on the importance of music therapy backed up by quotes and anecdotes, this site is a good springboard to finding therapists or information for those who want to enter the field.

World Federation of Music Therapy - Check out the databases of academic papers in the field of music therapy with lists of resources to information on organizations within the EU.

British Association for Musical Therapy - Check out a good overview of what musical therapy is and what it can do, plus information and history. Professionals will find good resources and facts with links to other good sites in the UK and internationally.

Music Therapy - Enter the Freudian Slip - Find the home page of a Music Therapist and a band, the Freudian Slip, that focuses on music as therapy for children and adolescents. Excellent selection of articles and information

Voices - A World Forum for Musical Therapy - Discover an active forum with lively discussions and articles contributed from music therapists practicing around the world leads to insights for the music therapist dealing with today's global issues..


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