Rhythm Regulates the Brain: The Impact of Music (& More) on Mental Health

In a short article in The Underground Music Report, music therapist Molly Warren relates success stories from her work at a psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center, noting how enthusiastic many patients are at the opportunity for “expression and for experiencing safety, peace and comfort” that music provides:

“Research shows the benefits of music therapy for various mental health conditions, including depressiontrauma, and schizophrenia (to name a few). Music acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief—but music can also be utilized as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dysregulation.”

Kathy Brous, in her blog Don’t Try This Alone, goes further into the neuroscience explaining music’s—and other rhythmic activity’s—salutary effect on the mind-body. She quotes from psychiatrist and child trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry who says repetitive, patterned activity is essential in helping bring down the high stress levels of traumatized people:

“He and other trauma experts are reporting revolutionary success with treatments using yoga, meditation, deep breathing, singing, dancing, drumming and more.

These principles are so fundamental to our brains they go back to the dawn of man; the Vedas were sung before 5,000 BC (likely with yoga and meditation). My book describes how yogic chant and meditation saved my life in 2010, before I ever read a word about brain science.