THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC

The Healing Power of Music

Since the earliest days of humankind, the power of music has been evident to us. From its ceremonial origin to modern medical usage for personal motivation, concentration, and shifting mood, music is a powerful balm for the human soul. Music can affect a client’s attention, emotion, cognition, behavior, and communication (Koelsch et al,.2009) Music has become such an incredible therapeutic tool doctors are now recommending music for numerous conditions including anxiety, heart-related disorders and insomnia. 
 
A study at McGill University in Canada revealed that listening to agreeable music encourages the production of beneficial brain chemicals, specifically the “feel good” hormone known as dopamine. Dopamine happens to be an integral part of brain’s pleasure-enhancing system. As a result, music leads to great feeling of joy and bliss. It’s not only listening to music that has a positive effect on stress and depression. The Namm Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of benefits of playing music, which includes reducing stress on both the emotional level and the molecular level. 
 

Studying Music Boosts Brain Development in Young Children

A research-based study undertaken at the University of Liverpool in the field of neuroscience has light to shed on the beneficial effects of early exposure to music. According to the findings, even half an hour of musical training is sufficient to increase the flow of blood in the brain’s left hemisphere, resulting in higher levels of early childhood development.
 

Music Education Helps Children Improve Reading Skills

Journal Psychology of Music reports that “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” In the initial stages of learning and development, music arouses auditory, emotional, cognitive and visual responses in a child. Music also aids a child’s kinesthetic development. According to the research-supported evidence, a song facilitates language learning far more effectively than speech.
 

Music Therapy for Children

The following information about the use of music therapy with children is provided by the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. (n.d.)
 
Music therapy can be a useful way to meet the various psychosocial needs of children, though engagement in song-writing and improvisation. It can provide children with opportunities for self-expression, communication, and a way to identify their strengths, providing a way for them to maintain a sense of self-esteem. 
 
For children, a music therapist can use live, familiar music in conjunction with physical, social and cognitive activities to stimulate development.  
 
Our goal at Harmony Hope Stables is to provide music therapy to achieve the objectives that meet the needs of the individuals. This may include improving motor function, social skills, emotions, coordination, self-expression and personal growth. 
 
Common goals in music therapy, as identified by Everyday Harmony (n.d.) are the development of:
 
  • Communication skills (using vocal/verbal sounds and gestures)
  • Social skills (making eye contact, turn-taking, initiating interaction, and self-esteem)
  • Sensory skills (fine and gross motor control and movement)
  • Cognitive skills (concentration and attention, imitation,  and sequencing)
  • Emotional skills (expression of feelings non-verbally)
 
 
 

WHAT IS EAL (EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING)?

Equine-assisted learning (EAL) is an experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills applicable to educational, professional or personal goals through equine-assisted activities. This approach integrates horse-human interaction that is guided by a planned learning experience to meet the identified goals or desires of the participant. 

Equines use mostly non-verbal communication and are in tune with the human behavior. Through interactions with the equines, participants learn a heightened self-awareness. Self-awareness is important in order to reveal patterns of behavior and gives participants the opportunity to think in a new way. We believe the spirit of the horse can be incredibly healing and make huge positive impacts on human lives. Our horses are considered our partners and it brings us great joy to share our equine friends with those in need. 

 

Benefits of EAL:

  • Learn to set healthy boundaries
  • Development of trust
  • Healing of past trauma
  • Self awareness
  • Teamwork and Leadership
  • Effective communication
  • Critical thinking & creative problem solving
  • Improvements in self control
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Building social skills
  • Increased assertiveness
  • Improved listening skills
  • Decreased aggressivenes
 
 
 

EQUINE THERAPY PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS

This powerful and effective therapeutic approach is becoming widely used across the world. By providing experiences with horses it provides mental and behavioral health therapy and personal development.

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is a collaborative effort between a licensed mental health therapist and our PATH certified, equine specialist working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. A variety of mental health and human development needs can be addressed by this program, including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, relationship problems, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and many others.