AUG 2014

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YOUR WELLNESS SPA Mind-Body Health 62 DAYSPA | AUGUST 2014 intervention during hospice and end-of-life care… and on infants and children with special needs. Else points out that even receptive-based activities like listening to music or watching a group engage in music activity has an effect. Beyond making music or listening to it, even watching, feeling and sens- ing music has impact. There are many applications that don't fi t into the formal defi nition of music therapy but may help greatly with health and happiness. Be it the beating of a drum, a song that triggers a memory or the force of an orchestra or powerful singer, music can be ben- efi cial within, or outside of, a therapeutic session. "It can excite and energize or it can soothe and calm," says Stevens. Finding time for music can reap big rewards, from lowered blood pressure and relief from anxiety, to help with substance abuse and social skills. Making or listening to music with others forms an instant com- munity. Music has also always been an integral part of religious and spiritual practices from Chinese gongs to African drums to Native American chants. As writer Al- dous Huxley famously said, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." Else does point out that, on occasion, "emotional, physical and/or psychological reactions and respons- es may be harmful." One can imagine a song from someone's past uncovering a long-buried trauma that leads to the need for help from a mental health pro- fessional. But, for the most part, as the AMTA says, the more music the better! Andrea Renskoff is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Seniors are one of the groups most apt to respond favorably to music therapy. • Use FreeInfo #28

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