Music Therapy for Stroke Patients
Music therapy has long been used to promote the health and well-being of those suffering from stroke, a type of brain injury. Studies have demonstrated that those receiving music-based rehabilitation can improve their mood, cognitive function and motor functions as well as reduce negative emotions.
Music’s effects on the brain are well documented, such as improved concentration, mood regulation and neuroplasticity (a change in brain structure that allows it to learn new skills). Furthermore, studies suggest music could aid memory enhancement and mental flexibility for stroke victims by increasing blood flow to damaged regions of the brain and altering its structure.
Studies have demonstrated that music, from classic to pop, can have a beneficial effect on stroke survivors’ mood and recovery. In one study, those who listened to audiobooks during music-based rehabilitation experienced decreases in anxiety and depression levels.
Research has also discovered that listening to music is associated with improvements in cognitive function for stroke patients, such as attention span, memory and organizational ability. Rhythmical music – typically played while patients exercise their arms or legs – may be an essential factor in improving movement and muscle control.
Studies have demonstrated that rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) can enhance motor functions such as movement, gait and action completion. This is thought to be because music rhythms excite motor neurons in the brain, encouraging muscles to move naturally and optimally.
No mind-mapping techniques (NMTs) can be utilized for this purpose, such as melodic intonation therapy – which uses specific musical instruments to generate rhythmic sounds that build strong connections in the brain. This type of NMT has been successfully employed with stroke victims to help them regain speech and motor capabilities; it can be done individually or as part of a group session.
Music has also been found to improve motor function for those with limb paralysis or weakness after a stroke. A trial of ten-week program that included music revealed significant improvements in patients’ motor skills compared to those who didn’t take part.
Studies have demonstrated that music can improve aphasia in stroke victims by stimulating speech centers and creating new neural connections. This technique was successfully employed to rehabilitate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered a bullet to her left side of brain nearly one year ago and is now able to communicate using short phrases and greetings.
Neuromotor Therapy (NMT) with stroke patients utilizes various types of music to help them hone their language and cognitive skills, including classical and contemporary music as well as folk/traditional songs. These pieces of music can be played on instruments like pianos or drums, increasing patient awareness of words they sing along with how to say them correctly.