Music therapy to treat depression: Does it work?

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Many people find that listening to their favorite songs when they’re feeling sad makes them feel better. Now, studies show that music therapy can successfully treat symptoms of clinical depression when combined with standard care.

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What is music therapy?

Contrary to popular belief, music therapy isn’t just about listening to uplifting music. It is defined as a research and evidence-based clinical practice that uses music to help patients improve certain aspects of their health. Music therapy can be performed in individual or group sessions, and professionals hold a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and have at least 1,000 hours of training.

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Does it work?

Studies have shown that music therapy is helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression in the short term. A study conducted by a team of scientists in Finland and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry compared the effectiveness of music therapy combined with standard care versus standard care alone. The results of this clinical trial showed that after three months, those exposed to music therapy displayed “significantly fewer symptoms” compared to those who received standard care alone. According to one of the researchers, Professor Jaakko Erkkilä, patients used music to express their feelings and found the experience cathartic. Music therapy can also help individuals with other health issues, like high blood pressure, anxiety, and developmental disabilities. Thus, it is safe to say that simply incorporating music into one’s day-to-day activities can improve his or her quality of life.

Mark Begelman is the co-founder of Markee Music, a fully-equipped music recording facility in Florida. For more related stories, visit this blog .


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