From Mood to Motor: using music therapy to prolong wellness for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

Current research provides a strong argument for including music therapy (from Parkinson’s choirs to gait rehabilitation) as standard treatment protocol for a variety of Parkinson’s symptoms. Although researchers are just beginning to develop an understanding of the neural mechanisms responsible for improving symptoms of Parkinson’s, we have compelling evidence for the power of music in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Why music? Music has been vital to the human experience for all of human history – socially, culturally, ritually, and even medicinally. With modern brain science technology, we are able to confirm what we’ve always known intuitively-that music plays a positive and significant role in health and wellness.

Music is processed throughout the brain, giving it the unique ability to be used in the development, preservation, and rehabilitation of various skills (speech, motor, emotional, cognitive). Preferred music is known to boost dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in initiating movement, reward-seeking behavior, focus, planning, mood, motivation, movement, attention, and sleep. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you are probably familiar with the role of Dopamine in the progression of the disease; decreased dopamine is responsible for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. When people listen to music they enjoy, a dopamine surge is created, providing a mood boost, and, for individuals with Parkinson’s, support for the mechanisms of the motor cortex.

Whatever the cause, engaging in regular, structured, and FUN music activities is beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Interested in joining a local therapeutic singing program? Contact Bloomsburg Music Therapy today!

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