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The Power of Music in Healing

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”

Victor hugo


For many of us, music evokes a set of memories and experiences, and is a companion to our everyday experiences. We have favorite songs, remember tunes from movies, and turn on classics to sing along with during the holidays. Perhaps our favorite musicians accompany us on workouts, or join us at celebrations, or are there when we are feeling sad. We use music to pump us up at times of celebration, or to calm our children down before bedtime. When walking on a city street, music has the power to stop us in our tracks. It also has the power to heal our bodies and our minds. 



“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” ― Victor hugo  For many of us, music evokes a set of memories and experiences, and is a companion to our everyday experiences. We have favorite songs, remember tunes from movies, and turn on classics to sing along with during the holidays. Perhaps our favorite musicians accompany us on workouts, or join us at celebrations, or are there when we are feeling sad. We use music to pump us up at times of celebration, or to calm our children down before bedtime. When walking on a city street, music has the power to stop us in our tracks. It also has the power to heal our bodies and our minds.       Researchers have been exploring the multitude of benefits music brings to our physical healing and well-being as well.  Shainna Ali, Ph.D states, “Music can provide a variety of benefits for our well-being, regardless of culture, including improvements in emotional expression, emotional regulation, self-esteem, self-control, life satisfaction, concentration, and memory,  as well as decreases in anxiety, depression, mental fatigue, and neurodegeneration.  And, Stanford Scope ,a publication out of the well-known university, shares “Beyond its well-known impacts on emotion and spirit, music also has a profound ability to support physical healing. Music therapy has proven effective in helping patients recover from stroke and brain injury and in managing Alzheimer's and dementia. A 2008 study published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology found that music helped people recovering from a stroke with verbal memory and maintaining focus. It also lessened depression and confusion.”  As we work on improving our health or living with disease, music can be a powerful tool to aid us on our paths to recovery. Try these ideas to incorporate the arts on your journey towards living well.  Make a Playlist  This idea is basic and free. Create different playlists that match the mood you want to evoke. Pick your favorite artists, or rely on already curated lists on apps like Spotify or Pandora. When a mood strikes, you can call upon calming tunes to begin to relax, or pick a selection of songs that have quicker tempos and loud beats to help frustration, pain, or anxiety move out of your body. This list, from Psychology Today, shares five things to consider when making a playlist for your mental health.  Psychology Today also reminds us “Please keep in mind that making mental health playlists can be a great wellness resource, but in no way replaces therapy. If you try these methods and still find yourself stuck, please seek professional help” which leads to ….  Work with a Musical Therapist According to Musictherapycolorado.org, “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association definition, 2019).”  The American Musical Therapy Association states, “Research indicates that music therapy is effective at reducing muscle tension and anxiety, and at promoting relaxation, verbalization, interpersonal relationships, and group cohesiveness. This can set the stage for open communication and provide a starting place for non-threatening support and processing symptoms associated with or exacerbated by trauma and disaster.”  They also share music therapy, when done with a licensed provider, can include benefits such as: Reduced muscle tension  Improved self-image/Increased self-esteem  Decreased anxiety/agitation  Increased verbalization  Enhanced interpersonal relationships  Improved group cohesiveness  Enhanced self-expression and self-awareness  Increased motivation  Improved perception and differentiation of feelings  Improved ability to titrate abreaction, self sooth, recognize and cope with traumatic triggers   You can reach out to find a therapist who can support your goals using this Colorado directory. Also, the following organizations are doing work here in Colorado, among others:  Music Therapy of the Rockies Colorado Association for Music Therapy  Use Lyrics as Mantras Song lyrics are a form of poetry. Written verse can serve as reminders of empowerment, self-care, empathy and compassion. When written on a sticky note, or a notecard you carry in your wallet, short lines of lyrics can serve as mantras to call upon when anxiety or emotions feel overwhelming.   Here are a few we like:  “And when the broken-hearted people / Living in the world agree / There will be an answer / Let it be” - The Beatles  “Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave” - Sara Barielles  “Honey, would you lean in close, tell me I'm doing alright? /Tell me that this old heart still got a dog in the fight /We'rе still standing, doing the best we can” - John Lucas  “And I found peace in the chaos /I found peace in suffering/ And I found peace in confusion/ I found peace inside of me” - Anna Golden  Dr. Lloyd Minor, MD, from the Stanford School of Medicine reflects on the beautiful pairing of the arts and their benefits to the human condition as he shares, “Science teaches us the biological workings of the human body and the causes of disease, but the humanities help us make sense of illness and suffering, life and death. The arts enable us to more confidently navigate these waters and approach each patient with empathy and compassion. We must always remember that a disease is not the same as the experience of illness, and a patient is more than an ill person.”  Music During Treatment  As you step out on your journey towards wellness, remember, music can be a tool to expand your identity, ground your spirit, or release experiences that are no longer serving you. Many of our clients mention that music helps guide the experience of ketamine therapy. Meditative music that is instrumental, unfamiliar, and without words, is best suited for ketamine therapy. Clients can easily find meditative playlists on YouTube featuring binaural beats. Binaural beats is a type of frequency that is commonly used in meditative practices and is optimal for helping the brian grow new pathways. Combined with ketamine therapy, binaural beats have been confirmed to reduce anxiety, improve a person's mood, reduce tension, and also improve long term memory. We provide noise canceling headsets and may recommend playlists for all infusions as well.  It is important to remember that you are always first a person, more than a patient, or someone with a diagnosis. If you’re looking for more support, schedule a time to have a conversation with one of our team members. We believe in the power of using compassion as a central component of care for our treatment plans.


Researchers have been exploring the multitude of benefits music brings to our physical healing and well-being as well.  Shainna Ali, Ph.D states, “Music can provide a variety of benefits for our well-being, regardless of culture, including improvements in emotional expression, emotional regulation, self-esteem, self-control, life satisfaction, concentration, and memory,  as well as decreases in anxiety, depression, mental fatigue, and neurodegeneration.


And, Stanford Scope ,a publication out of the well-known university, shares “Beyond its well-known impacts on emotion and spirit, music also has a profound ability to support physical healing. Music therapy has proven effective in helping patients recover from stroke and brain injury and in managing Alzheimer's and dementia. A 2008 study published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology found that music helped people recovering from a stroke with verbal memory and maintaining focus. It also lessened depression and confusion.”


As we work on improving our health or living with disease, music can be a powerful tool to aid us on our paths to recovery. Try these ideas to incorporate the arts on your journey towards living well.


Make a Playlist 

This idea is basic and free. Create different playlists that match the mood you want to evoke. Pick your favorite artists, or rely on already curated lists on apps like Spotify or Pandora. When a mood strikes, you can call upon calming tunes to begin to relax, or pick a selection of songs that have quicker tempos and loud beats to help frustration, pain, or anxiety move out of your body. This list, from Psychology Today, shares five things to consider when making a playlist for your mental health.


Psychology Today also reminds us “Please keep in mind that making mental health playlists can be a great wellness resource, but in no way replaces therapy. If you try these methods and still find yourself stuck, please seek professional help” which leads to ….


Work with a Musical Therapist

According to Musictherapycolorado.org, “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association definition, 2019).”


The American Musical Therapy Association states, “Research indicates that music therapy is effective at reducing muscle tension and anxiety, and at promoting relaxation, verbalization, interpersonal relationships, and group cohesiveness. This can set the stage for open communication and provide a starting place for non-threatening support and processing symptoms associated with or exacerbated by trauma and disaster.”


They also share music therapy, when done with a licensed provider, can include benefits such as:

  • Reduced muscle tension 

  • Improved self-image/Increased self-esteem 

  • Decreased anxiety/agitation 

  • Increased verbalization 

  • Enhanced interpersonal relationships 

  • Improved group cohesiveness 

  • Enhanced self-expression and self-awareness 

  • Increased motivation 

  • Improved perception and differentiation of feelings 

  • Improved ability to titrate abreaction, self sooth, recognize and cope with traumatic triggers 


You can reach out to find a therapist who can support your goals using this Colorado directory. Also, the following organizations are doing work here in Colorado, among others:


Music Therapy of the Rockies

Colorado Association for Music Therapy


Use Lyrics as Mantras

Song lyrics are a form of poetry. Written verse can serve as reminders of empowerment, self-care, empathy and compassion. When written on a sticky note, or a notecard you carry in your wallet, short lines of lyrics can serve as mantras to call upon when anxiety or emotions feel overwhelming. 


Here are a few we like:


  • “And when the broken-hearted people / Living in the world agree / There will be an answer / Let it be” - The Beatles


  • “Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave” - Sara Barielles


  • “Honey, would you lean in close, tell me I'm doing alright? /Tell me that this old heart still got a dog in the fight /We'rе still standing, doing the best we can” - John Lucas


  • “And I found peace in the chaos /I found peace in suffering/ And I found peace in confusion/ I found peace inside of me” - Anna Golden


Dr. Lloyd Minor, MD, from the Stanford School of Medicine reflects on the beautiful pairing of the arts and their benefits to the human condition as he shares, “Science teaches us the biological workings of the human body and the causes of disease, but the humanities help us make sense of illness and suffering, life and death. The arts enable us to more confidently navigate these waters and approach each patient with empathy and compassion. We must always remember that a disease is not the same as the experience of illness, and a patient is more than an ill person.”


Music During Treatment 

As you step out on your journey towards wellness, remember, music can be a tool to expand your identity, ground your spirit, or release experiences that are no longer serving you. Many of our clients mention that music helps guide the experience of ketamine therapy. Meditative music that is instrumental, unfamiliar, and without words, is best suited for ketamine therapy. Clients can easily find meditative playlists on YouTube featuring binaural beats. Binaural beats is a type of frequency that is commonly used in meditative practices and is optimal for helping the brian grow new pathways. Combined with ketamine therapy, binaural beats have been confirmed to reduce anxiety, improve a person's mood, reduce tension, and also improve long term memory. We provide noise canceling headsets and may recommend playlists for all infusions as well.


It is important to remember that you are always first a person, more than a patient, or someone with a diagnosis. If you’re looking for more support, schedule a time to have a conversation with one of our team members. We believe in the power of using compassion as a central component of care for our treatment plans.

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