This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Music therapy is the use of music to induce relaxation, promote healing, enhance mental functioning, and create an overall sense of well-being. Individuals doing music therapy typically listen to or perform music under the guidance of a specially trained and certified music therapist. Considered one of the "creative arts therapies" or "expressive therapies" (which include art therapy, dance therapy, writing therapy, and drama therapy), music therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies or healing treatments.
Music therapists work with all age groups, from infants to the elderly, and can be found in a variety of settings, including private practice, schools, senior centers and nursing homes, outpatient clinics, psychiatric and medical hospitals, and hospices.
Music as therapy is almost as old as civilization itself. The ancient Greek philosophers believed that music could facilitate healing, as did early Native Americans, who used chanting and other musical practices as part of their healing rituals. In the Unites States, music therapy as a formal discipline was first employed during World War I to help disabled soldiers in Veterans Administration hospitals. The first music therapy degrees were granted in the 1940s, and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) was founded in 1998.