Music therapy is well established as an effective mind-body technique. It alters brain waves, slows breathing and heart rate, and triggers a relaxation response. Music has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve immunity, ease muscle tension, boost creativity and optimism, and keep stress and depression at bay. Amazingly, the effects of music linger even after you’ve stopped listening. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) oversees the development of therapeutic applications of music and monitors educational and training standards for music therapists. But, you don’t need a formal music therapy program to benefit from the healing powers of music.
If you’re feeling stressed, you can treat yourself to your own little session of music therapy:
- Put on some relaxing music and lie down in a comfortable position.
- Choose music with a slow, repetitive rhythm.
- As you allow the music to wash over you, focus on your breathing, allowing it to slow and deepen.
- Concentrate on the silence between the notes, rather than analyzing the music.