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    HomeHealthHow Music Therapy Can Soothe Anxiety and Improve Mental Health

    How Music Therapy Can Soothe Anxiety and Improve Mental Health

    Music therapy, while still a relatively small field, has grown over the last decade. The practice helps people cope with ailments as wide-ranging as stress, chronic pain, limited mobility and hypertension, and is performed in a variety of settings, including psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, senior centers and schools.

    Scientific research has begun to explore why music appears to have such a strong effect on health and wellness, particularly mental health, where sounds can serve as a conduit to lift someone’s mood, help them reflect and reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

    When she was 14, Isobell’s treatment for anxiety looked very different. At the time, she was seeing a psychiatrist. But after trying two different medications, she felt that they “weren’t really doing anything.”

    She was starting to feel discouraged, until her doctor — knowing that she loved to play the guitar and write songs — recommended that she try music therapy.

    For the past two years, she has traveled to Mount Sinai nearly every week, despite her packed schedule as a senior at one of the most selective public high schools in New York City.

    Isobell, who asked to be referred to only by her first name to protect her privacy, no longer takes medication.

    Singing creates space to release emotions that can be difficult to describe, she explained.

    Even just listening to a song and interpreting the meaning “opens up so much in my mind,” she added. “I feel like I always draw a blank when people ask me, ‘What’s up? What’s going on?’” But music therapy helps her become more introspective.

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