According to the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF), music therapy is “the systematic use of music, within a developing relationship between patient and therapist to restore, maintain, and improve physical, emotional, psychosocial, and neurologic function.”

According to IMNF’s website, combining exercise with a systematic application of music is one way to boost participation in therapy and aid in the rehabilitation process.

Music therapy is used to awaken, rehabilitate, and heal people in the following ways:

  • With Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, music, especially familiar songs, unlocks memories; participation in music improves communication and overcomes withdrawal.
  • In Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, moving to music helps improve gait, balance, and range of motion.
  • For traumatic injuries, music-assisted physical therapy improves gross and fine motor functioning, coordination, and visual and auditory perception.
  • For stroke, musically assisted speech is used to treat nonfluent aphasia, one of the most common speech disorders following stroke.
  • For acute and chronic pain, music therapy provides relief, induces relaxation, and eases anxiety.
  • With depression, music is a powerful modality for connecting to feelings, expressing thoughts, and overcoming isolation.