Music Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Research has demonstrated that rhythmic auditory stimulation and music-based rehabilitation therapies can improve balance, motor movements and quality of movement for Parkinson’s patients. They may also aid individuals with PD in overcoming tremors or other symptoms which impair mobility.
Researchers have discovered that music can stimulate the production of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that are reduced in Parkinson’s patients. This may help reduce tremors, slow the disease’s progression, and ease depression.
Isabelle Buard, PhD and assistant research professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine are testing whether neurologic music therapy – a type of rehabilitative therapy – can help those living with Parkinson’s Disease regain fine motor skills.
She is currently seeking 100 patients aged 45 to 85 who would like to participate in her trial. Participants will be randomly assigned to either a no-therapy group, standard of care occupational therapy group or one of two neurologic music therapy groups where they dictate the rhythm through their own movements.
As part of the study, patients will engage in various exercises with their therapists using musical instruments like castanets and weighted keyboards to increase dexterity and fine motor skills. They will work on these exercises three times a week for five months.
Music-based therapy has been proven to not only increase physical movement but also socialize people and provide mood boosting effects. It could even aid those living with Parkinson’s Disease in processing their emotions and managing anxiety.
Music-based rehabilitative therapies are scientifically researched and use musical elements to achieve rehabilitation objectives such as movement, coordination, strength and endurance.
Therapeutic drumming, dance and movement therapies, as well as song-based therapies are all used to assist those living with Parkinson’s Disease improve balance and motor function, improve voice volume and quality, and strengthen muscles related to swallowing and breathing. These activities may reduce symptoms associated with Parkinson’s such as tremors or hypophonia.
Parkinson’s patients commonly experience difficulty moving. They have trouble starting, stopping and freezing when walking or changing gait patterns. These symptoms can be frustrating, unsafe and lead to falls.
Other PD symptoms include changes to voice and speech, as well as psychosocial conditions like depression or anxiety. These can significantly impact someone’s capacity for function, leading them to isolate from others.
These symptoms can be especially challenging to manage, as they are often overwhelming and difficult to manage. Singing, however, has the potential to reduce depression and anxiety while improving vocal quality and range.
Studies have demonstrated that using music in these ways can promote relaxation and enhance sleep quality. In fact, research suggests it may even calm down overactive body rhythms which disrupt sleep patterns.
No matter which music-based therapy you select, it may be beneficial to find a program or class that is staffed by a licensed therapist. This will guarantee you receive high quality care and work with someone knowledgeable enough to support you throughout the process.