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Music as a therapy, does that work?

A therapist who is in the hospital and harp play for a patient and a pharmacist who has a playlist of Pharell Williams give. What does science say about this? NU.nl speak with researcher Marianne van der Heijden and professor of vaktherapie Susan Hear of it.

We listen to music during the run to ourselves, to motivate, to sing a lullaby for a child that does not want to sleep and run music at a funeral to someone to remember and people connect. Music does something to us, know the two experts.

“Potentially, music can be an effective, safe and inexpensive means of”
Marianne van der Heijden, researcher

Since about the forties is music therapy for a variety of indicative questions used in the care. Of Hear lists: “Mental health, depression, psychotic disorders, substance abuse, rehabilitation, elderly care, ADHD, autism.”

Van der Heijden: “Since the application provides music therapy positive site-results, which have the potential to be an effective, safe and inexpensive means can be against all kinds of complaints.”

Music does something to us, experts say (Photo: 123RF).

Music gives more than ‘a happy feeling’

There are numerous studies that show that music can have a therapeutic effect. As for all syndromes that Hear Of it referred to evidence that music therapy have a positive effect.

And we mean the experts do not that music can make for a happy feeling, fun and relaxing. Hear of it: “for example, There are indications that people with Parkinson’s better to learn to walk with the help of music therapy, behavior problems with dementia reduces, that social interaction in children with autism will improve and language disorders reduce.”

Evidence for music as a tool for the

  • Learning to walk for people with Parkinson’s
  • Reduce problem behaviour in dementia
  • Improve social interaction in children with autism
  • Reduce language disorders

Music therapy for pain and anxiety

Previously was music therapy applied in psychiatry and palliative care. The experts see a shift to the use in intensive care, brandwondenzorg, oncology and post-operative care.

Van der Heijden: “Music is applied for complaints in research difficult to grasp, such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, onrustigheid, discomfort and isolation, by a long shot.”

From this angle it is clearly shown that listening to music pre-operatively, during surgery and after surgery ensures less pain and anxiety, according to research by Rosalie Kühlmann of Erasmus MC.

Yet little scientific evidence for music therapy

But, give both experts immediately, the scientific evidence often consists of a few studies, making it is not sufficiently substantiated. Hear of it: “We can only talk about ‘indications’ and do not have a clear effect.”

The main issue: how it works, is unclear. That makes music therapy a difficult research topic. Van der Heijden: “There are all kinds of examples of patients who thrive after music therapy. But is that actually the music therapy? The biological basis is missing.”

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