The Benefits of Music in Rehab

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For stroke patients, neuroplasticity– a process in which neural connections in the brain are modified, adapted, or changed in structure and function, is key in recovery post-stroke.

Many means of therapy and rehabilitation aim to help patients recover, and it was found that music therapy hold major benefit.

Strokes are unique and there is a large array of conditions that affect the way strokes affect people, and as such therapy looks different for each individual. However music, when prescribed and used in different therapy and rehab instances, can help a large array of conditions that stroke patients face.

Benefits

Music Therapy is able to address affected gait patterns through a technique called rhythmic entrainment; this is a technique that involves synchronizing movement to a rhythm. One of the most common secondary effects of a stroke affecting 80% of survivors is called hemiparesis, which is a condition in which there is weakness on one side of someone’s body, and it often affects the ability to walk.

Hand functions in terms of strength, range of movement and dexterity can be improved when pairing auditory stimulation during therapy in order to prepare the brain to anticipate movement. Not only does this improves muscle activation patterns, physiological changes such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension can be influenced as well.

Music can also help in language and communication. Aphasia, a condition in which the ability to produce or understand speech is impaired, can be addressed through melodic intonation therapy or “singing therapy”. Since stokes affect one hemisphere of the brain, speech and the ability to sing are designated in separate halves– meaning that while the ability to speak is lost, the ability to sing is not. As such, means of getting stroke survivors to sing can help in the regaining of speech ability.

Listening to music additionally helps in cognitive functions such as memory and attention in addition to alleviating post-stroke depression and anxiety.

Analysis

Music as a means of aiding in primary and secondary benefits for rehab is interesting as it’s something that can really easily be added into a peripheral or system in conjunction with the sleeve usage itself.

I think that personally as a more visual-based person, my first thoughts was creating instructional programs or peripherals for the sleeve in order to help with the rehab process in a more graphics and tech-based system. Seeing that the means of auditory simulation also helps with facilitating rehab, but also helps in the process of alleviating conditions such as depression or anxiety is making me reconsider some other components in designing a peripheral or system to work alongside the sleeve.

With music being a large factor in recovery considering all its benefits, the addition of any auditory stimulation for patients would prove to be helpful in using the sleeve in contexts without the oversight of a medical professional or caregiver.