Music Therapy for Labor, Mentally Ill and Hospice

Music and the Mentally ill

Music can be an effective tool for the mentally or emotionally ill. Autism is one disorder that has been particularly researched. Music therapy has enabled some autistic children to relate to others and have improved learning skills. Substance abuse, schizophrenia, paranoia, and disorders of personality, anxiety, and affect are all conditions that may be benefited by music therapy.

In these groups, participation and social interaction are promoted through music. Reality orientation is improved. Patients are helped to develop coping skills, reduce stress, and express their feelings.

Music and Hospice

Pain, anxiety, and depression are major concerns with patients who are terminally ill, whether they are in hospice or not. Music can provide some relief from pain, through release of endorphins and promotion of relaxation. It can also provide an opportunity for the patient to reminisce and talk about the fears that are associated with death and dying. Music may help regulate the rapid breathing of a patient who is anxious, and soothe the mind.

Music and Labor

Research has proven that mothers require less pharmaceutical pain relief during labour if they make use of music. Using music that is familiar and associated with positive imagery is the most helpful. During early labour, this will promote relaxation. Maternal movement is helpful to get the baby into a proper birthing position and dilate the cervix.

Enjoying some “music to move by” can encourage the mother to stay active for as long as possible during labour. The rhythmic auditory stimulation may labour pains and facilitate also prompt the body to release endorphins, which are a natural form of pain relief.

Many women select different styles of music for each stage of labour, with a more intense, or faster piece feeling like a natural accompaniment to the more difficult parts of labour. Instrumental music is often preferred.

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