Thursday, February 20, 2014

OCD and Music Therapy


Music has always had a profound effect on my life. From as early as I can remember, I have been fascinated with listening and playing a variety of music. Even as a child, I instinctively knew the power that music has to heal and whenever I felt anxiety, music always calmed me. 
Now there is scientific proof that Music Therapy can help many conditions, both physical and mental. Many operating rooms play music during surgeries and in recovery rooms, and it helps patients to heal faster. Music is also a great stress buster, and mood enhancer. 
I found some information about Music Therapy you may find useful...

"Definition: Music therapy is a branch of health care designed to aid physical and emotional health through the use of music, either with listening, song writing, performing, exploring lyrics or other activities related to music. Because of the effects of music on the body, it is often found as part of stress management programs or used in conjunction with exercise, and is uses in a variety of health care settings, with very good results in both short-term conditions and more serious long-term ones. For example, music can slow the body's physiology and facilitate physical relaxation, or can speed up the body's physiology to create increased energy. Music can influence emotions virtually instantaneously, which can help with stress relief as well.
While music therapy is an emerging field, music iteslf has many benefits for health and stress management, and can be used in daily life to relieve stress and promote wellness. (This is not formal music therapy, but it can be effective for stress relief.) Read this article for more information on music and music therapy. Read this for more on how to use music for daily stress relief. The book, "Your Playlist Can Change Your Life," provides more research on how music affects physiology and can be used for stress relief or other uses.

Music therapy and OCD 

Music Therapy is just one of a number of alternative therapies that can be used alongside the more traditional routes to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a therapist will help you to deal with situations that can cause the anxiety that leads to the obsessions and compulsive behaviour. The right music has often been used to relax people and it is possible that, by playing music, anxiety levels can be reduced. Through CBT someone with OCD could be taught to recognise the situations when anxiety levels may rise and to use pre-chosen pieces of music to reduce them.

Music therapy and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - 

Learning to play an instrument is also a positive way to reduce the opportunities for obsessive thoughts. Replacing negative compulsive behaviours with a positive one - learning to play an instrument would have two benefits. The main benefit would be to reduce and eventually eliminate your compulsive behaviour, the second is to be able to play either a new instrument or play it better.
Article Source:

Brain Waves: Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state. Also, research has found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.
Breathing and Heart Rate: With alterations in brainwaves comes changes in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system, such as breathing and heart rate can also be altered by the changes music can bring. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate, and an activation of the relaxation response, among other things. This is why music and music therapy can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, greatly promoting not only relaxation, but health.
State of Mind: Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, bringing many other benefits.
Other Benefits: Music has also been found to bring many other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure (which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time), boost immunity, ease muscle tension, and more. With so many benefits and such profound physical effects, it’s no surprise that so many are seeing music as an important tool to help the body in staying (or becoming) healthy.

Using Music Therapy:
With all these benefits that music can carry, it's no surprise that music therapy is growing in popularity. Many hospitals are using music therapists for pain management and other uses. Music therapists help with several other issues as well, including stress. For more information on music therapy, visit the American Music Therapy Association's website."

"You can wake yourself up with music, and start your day feeling great, setting the tone for a lower-stress day. 
During a Commute:

Put an end to road rage by playing your favorite music in the car. It can reliever some of the tension you feel from the commute itself and the day so far, and help you feel less like you’re wasting time in traffic, and more like you’re having some nice time to yourself. It can also take your mind off of all that you need to get done once you reach your destination, so you’ll arrive less stressed and more prepared to take on what awaits you.


Good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it can actually keep your stress level down. Eating at home is a great way to ensure healthy meals and less expense, but many people find themselves too tired to cook once they get home. If you put on some smooth jazz or other genre of music that you enjoy, cooking becomes a fun activity rather than a chore, and you’ll likely find yourself relaxed and in a better frame of mind once dinner starts, which can enable you to savor your dinner and your company as you eat.

While Eating:
As you’re eating your meal, music can also be a helper. Soothing music can trigger the relaxation response, which can lower cortisol levels, making it easier to digest food. Also, studies have shown that classical music in particular can help you eat less, digest better, and enjoy your food more.

Keeping a simple, organized home can really help to cut down on your stress level, but cleaning itself is a chore that many busy people don’t have the energy to face after a long day. However, if you throw on some energetic music, hip-hop or pop, for example, you can raise your energy level and have fun as you clean. If you tell yourself that you only need to clean for a certain amount of songs and then you can be done, you may work more efficiently, and even come to look forward to doing the job.
When Paying Bills:

We all need to pay bills, but the job doesn’t always take a high degree of concentration. Playing music while you write your checks can help take your mind off of financial stress you may be feeling, and make the task more enjoyable.
Before Bed:

Getting enough sleep is important for proper functioning, and getting enough sleep can help you handle stress better. Unfortunately, stress can also interfere with sleep in several ways. Playing music as you drift off is one way to counteract the effects of stress by taking your mind off of what’s stressing you, slowing down your breathing, and soothing your mind."

In using Music Therapy, you can also create your own personal playlists. It is good to remember that music causes emotional memories for many people. When you hear a song from the past, that song can instantly transport you back to either a good or bad time, so it is important to use songs that elicit good feelings when making a personal therapy playlist. As music is a very personal thing, use
songs, or pieces of music that create the mood or memories that make you feel joyous, relaxed, enlivened, etc. You can create several different playlists, for the specific moods you would like to create.
I hope this helps, and I hope all the music you hear or make is beautiful!


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James Andrew said...

I'm well aware of the benefits of music in in our body and mind that is why I am taking the initiative to sing and learn new song everyday. I hope I can find a music therapy Perth.