Many are familiar with the phrase: music heals the soul. And while that might be an impressive concept, that varies from person to person. However, music healing is not just limited to pseudoscience, it has long crossed those boundaries and stepped into the real world. Thus today, we are going to explain: can music repair brain damage?
Can Music Repair Brain Damage?
Music has been a part of human life from almost the beginning. Well, almost, because we don’t know everything about first humans, do we?
Joking aside, the interest in music has been a common trend in all eras. The definition of soul-soothing tunes is not enough for many, thus research started regarding the role of music in the medical field. Especially in the past 15 years, biomedical researchers have found a lot of data backing up the claims of the positive impact of music on the human brain. Initially, the research was met with a lot of skepticism and even resistance in many cases, but time has brought more consistent data supporting the theory. Even today, not many people and some professionals consider this to be pseudoscience, but time is changing.
To answer the above question, no it does not heals the injured brain 100%. Music is a language, the type that is highly structured and auditory in nature and involves processes like complex perception, motor control, and cognition. It can effectively be used to retrain as well as educate the brain. So yes, music can heal the injured brain, but like every other treatment, it is not a 100% cure.
What Brain Injuries Can Be Healed By Music?
Currently, music is used in therapy and rehabilitation. There have been a lot of cases with high success rates, supported by clinical trials and studies of music along with brain function. Used alongside brain imaging techniques, music has been used in cases with strokes cognitive difficulties, language difficulties, rehabilitation, etc. Moreover, it has also been used in cases with strokes and Parkinson’s disease where the patient has problems with movement. This has been possible due to the connection between music and motor control share circuits.
With all the data and clinical trials, researchers are pushing for neurologic music therapy to become a part of rehabilitative care.
What Is Neurological Music Therapy?
Neurological music therapy or NMT is a term coined by researchers as a result of studies proving the effectiveness of music in healing brain injuries. A combination of music therapy, brain science, and neurology, this new field has opened up an alternative route to treating brain-damaged patients. However, this is a relatively new field, and strictly focused on research, there is a lot that is going to be added to it in the future.
Can Music Be An Effective Treatment For Brain Injuries?
The statistics of annual traumatic brain injuries are rather high, with 1.7 million documented cases per year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Add in the cases of other ailments like stroke, and the total number is staggeringly high. In the past, not much belief was put into NMT, but recent research has changed the game. So yes, music can be an effective treatment for brain injuries, a fact that is backed up by research.
What Does Music Therapy Entail?
Music therapy uses all different types of music to achieve various goals, including but not limited to:
- Exercising to upbeat music to improve endurance
- Drumming to improve hand and arm movement
- Improving muscle control through playing instruments or exercising to it
- Improving speech and communication through singing
- Improving vocal muscles movement through vocals
- Improving cognitive skills
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can music rewire the brain?
Yes, it can. This is something we discussed above how music is used to rehabilitate the brain. It can rewire the circuitry of brains quite easily if it is practiced regularly. This is backed up by the research conducted at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.
Can music heal the brain?
Again, music is not a 100% cure, as the is no curative treatment in existence to cure diseases causing brain injuries. What it can do is stimulate the brain circuitry and neural systems and rehabilitate it.