You know you do it. After a bad day at work, you crank up the volume to your favorite song, and sing to it at the top of your lungs. You don't even mind that the cute guy in the car next to you is looking at you like you have four heads. It just feels that good.
As a woman, Mimi Sinclair understands that feeling from a personal standpoint; as a board certified music therapist, she understands that feeling from a medical standpoint.
Sinclair, the owner and director of Music Therapy Services in Milford, uses music therapy to treat children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities, Alzheimers disease and many other conditions.
Music therapy research has demonstrated music's ability to improve immune function, assist with pain relief, promote speech development, facilitate relaxation, reduce anxiety, rehabilitate motor function, increase attention to task, among many others, says Sinclair.
But you don't have to be unwell to benefit from music. According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction via active music making, such as drumming, as well as passive listening for relaxation. "Music is often a vital support for physical exercise," according to the AMTA's Web site. "Music therapy assisted labor and delivery may also be included in this category since pregnancy is regarded as a normal part of women's life cycles."
Well or unwell, Sinclair says anyone can contact us at Music Therapy Services for a consultation to see how music therapy can make a difference in their health and well-being.
"Music therapists are employed throughout the country in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, as well as private practices such as mine to serve the growing population of people looking for non-invasive and non-threatening interventions," she says.
But if you just want to learn how to incorporate music into your healthy lifestyle without a healthcare professionals intervention, Sinclair says there are many ways for women to informally take advantage of music's therapeutic effects. "I always encourage people to engage in music experiences in a way that is meaningful for them," she says. "Joining a community chorus, orchestra or band can provide an outlet for expression, keep the mind and body challenged and promote emotional health. It's never too late to learn to play an instrument if you want."
Another helpful piece of advice she imparts is to take advantage of the relaxing effect of listening to music to induce sleep, as so many busy women today experience sleep disorders. Also, listening to relaxing music can help with anxiety-producing events like visiting the dentist or other medical procedures. Many dentists and physicians provide CD players, or take your own. In fact, some MRI facilities have non-magnetic DVDs or CDs for you to enjoy during the imaging procedure.
There's a plethora of research available online about the health benefits of music, and according to Sinclair, we'll be seeing much more in the future. "There's is a great deal of exciting research being done to compliment the more than 50 years of research studies already published by the AMTA, among other organizations," she says.