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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Music Therapy: A Powerful Tool for the Brain

Music has been used as a therapeutic tool for centuries but, in recent years, the intentional use of music to impact brain function has become legitimate medical tool. Clinical neuroscience research has established neurological music therapy (NMT) as an evidence-based technique that can successfully help develop and retrain the brain.

The Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy was formed in 2002 with the purpose of gaining an advanced understanding and education about how music could be utilized to create functional changes in patients with certain limitations or illnesses, including speech, language, motor and cognitive skills. The goals of NMT may be developmental, adaptive or rehabilitative, depending on each patient’s needs.

NMT typically begins with an assessment and the creation of objectives and functional goals. These goals are then translated into musical exercises designed to help patients reach certain functional benchmarks. A 2014 article in the Journal of Music Therapy suggests that the reason that music therapy works well in comparison to traditional therapy is that music regulates the neurotransmitters in the brain creating new roads to learning. In addition, music is acoustically clearer than speech and more easily processed. It synchronizes and engages multiple areas of the brain. One of the most powerful examples of music used therapeutically can be seen in the case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who has achieved functional gains in terms of speech, memory and motor schools through intense daily sessions using NMT.

Source: Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Hypnotist Colleen Brigid Fitzpatrick, an affiliate clinical neurorehabilitation professional with The Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. For more information, visit