What is Neurologic Music Therapy?
Based upon neuroscience research, Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) provides specific, individualized, and standardized interventions for those affected by neurologic injury or disease. NMT differs from traditional Music Therapy as it views music not as social science model for well being, but, as a neuroscience model that music is a hard-wired brain language.
NMT is the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions due to neurologic disease of the human nervous system. Treatment techniques are based on the scientific knowledge of music perception and production and the effects thereof nonmusical brain and behavior functions.
How NMT Works:
Neurological Music Therapy serves across the spectrum of high and low functioning patients, and focuses on 3 key goal areas: 1) Speech & Language, 2) Cognition, and 3) Sensorimotor.
Speech & Language
As seen in the case studies below, recovery of speech and language is just one of the applications of Neurologic Music Therapy. Common injuries and diseases associated with loss of speech and language include, but is not limited to: Aphasia, Stroke, and Apraxia. NMT helps to reverse the damage done through a series of specialized interventions, including Musical Speech Stimulation and Melodic Intonation Therapy.
Effect of Music with Aphasia
Gait Training Improvements, Post-Stroke
As shown in the graph, Neurologic Music Therapy provides improved outcomes in a range of categories for Gait Training. This data represents the percentage increase in each of these categories in comparison to traditional Physical Therapy.
Neurologic Music Therapy can provide improvements in cognition for the following areas: Attention, Memory, Initiation, Executive Function, and Neglect Training.
External Cause of TBI in the U.S.
Senator Gabby Giffords Recovers With NMT.
Senator Gabby Giffords
Neurologic Music Therapy first hit the world stage when Senator Gabby Giffords was able to recover language and relearn to walk following her tragic gunshot wound to the head in 2011. Here is a video where she talks about the impact of the therapy on her life:
When we first met Peter, he had suffered a Stroke, which resulted in Non-fluent Aphasia, and left him unable to speak.We began intensive Neurologic Music Therapy treatment, which consisted of Musical Speech Stimulation and Melodic Intonation Therapy. These specific interventions are targeted toward language rehabilitation in Stroke victims.
As a result of this therapy, Peter experienced drastic outcomes. To see his improvements in action, check out this video:
NMT & Aphasia
Neuroscience has shown that music elicits global brain activation. Meaning, music engages your entire brain. Research has also shown that music can aid neuroplasticity, your brain's ability to "rewire" and make new connections and strengthen old connections throughout your lifetime. These principles provide the foundation for the application of Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT).
How can NMT help with Aphasia? Difficulty with speech and language is typically the result of damage to the left hemisphere of the brain, where language is processed. NMT uses specialized interventions using music that can engage undamaged centers of the brain to help create new connections to language. It's as if music can create a detour around the damaged part of your brain. People who can't speak can often sing, and through NMT interventions, we use these principles to help people speak again with great results in functional outcomes.
*Header photo courtesy of Todd Orcutt Media