Dharwad: North Karnataka’s premier mental health institute, Dharwad Institute of Mental Health Sciences (DIMHANS), will be offering music therapy to its patients. DIMHANS director Dr Mahesh Desai inaugurated the Music Therapy and Research Unit (MTRU) on Friday.
This unit will primarily focus on researching the effectiveness of music therapy through scientific methods, and also developing systematic methods to use music therapy to aid mental health and wellbeing.
The Music Therapy and Research Unit will be headed by Dr Shridhar Kulkarni, Senior Nursing Officer, and Dr Manjunath B., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. The occasion was also graced by Dr Srinivas Kosgi, Medical Superintendent and associate professor of psychiatry, and Dr Sreevani Rentala, Nursing professor and Head.
What is Music Therapy?
It is a therapeutic approach involving the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of a group or individual.
Therapy has many physical and mental health benefits. Several research studies have proven the effectiveness of integrated music therapy in lowering blood pressure, improving cardiac output, and also in reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
A randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the effects of music therapy on Cardiac Rehabilitation found positive changes in systolic blood pressure pre and post-treatment. Combined relaxation and music therapy has also been found to be a feasible and effective treatment to control and manage diabetes. The therapy has also been found to be an effective treatment for the promotion of relaxation and well-being in terminally ill people undergoing palliative care.
Apart from physical health management, music therapy is being increasingly used as an intervention for the management of mental health problems. Therapy was superior to treatment as usual for total negative symptoms as well as the functioning and clinical global impressions in schizophrenia. A review of RCTs found that music therapy was associated with improvements in mood in individuals with depression. Group Music Therapy has been found to reduce depression in people with dementia. Systemic reviews and meta-analyses have also reported that music therapy showed an overall medium-to-large effect on stress-related outcomes.
These studies clearly support the effectiveness of music therapy as an integrated treatment approach for both physical and mental health conditions. Given the high evidence of therapeutic benefits of this therapy, DIMHANS’s music therapy initiative will definitely be beneficial to patients and their family members, as well as to the employees and students who are interested in learning this technique.