PTSD Awareness Month: Healing Through Music

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Image by Sienna Holmes; Content by Alaina LeBlanc

June is PTSD Awareness Month and we here at Children’s Music Fund (CMF) are showing support by telling the benefits of how music therapy aids patients affected by PTSD.

We have all probably heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or known someone who has suffered from the effects of it, considering that 1 in 5 people develop the disorder after experiencing a traumatic event. It is a very difficult and traumatic disorder to have and it can often be hard to cure with traditional medicine. Many people are now looking to alternative treatments which do not include the use of drug therapy to treat this type of condition.

Fortunately, music has a way of giving much needed relief to those who suffer from its often serious effects–specifically, drumming can offer a method of expression and a healthy means to emotionally and mentally cope for these individuals.  “In studies of Vietnam Veterans, drumming exercises greatly reduce stress among and other victims of trauma by altering their brain- wave patterns.” The goal of drumming is to reduce the symptoms by recalling the traumatic event, expressing one’s feelings surrounding the event, and eventually gaining control over the experience overall.

A contemporary and cybernetic example of using rhythmic beats in music therapy would be the use of vibroacoustic therapy for patients to feel the music through use of sound waves. According to Social Work Helper, “The key to this type of therapy is making it a live, interactive experience that is not only audibly stimulating but also kinesthetically stimulating. Vibroacoustic therapy has been used to treat Alzheimer ’s disease, premature babies, children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, chronic physical pain, and other visible and invisible illnesses.” This therapy works similarly to drumming, as it focuses on feeling the pulses and viscerally experiencing the music.

The Sound Well Corp. notes the benefits of vibroacoustic therapy for PTSD patients:

  • It’s very effective to reduce stress in preventive, acute and chronic conditions
  • Helps reaching deep meditation, self-hypnosis and harmony.
  • Balance body and mind systems and helps grounding.
  • The outcome: less pain, stress, insomnia, or anxiety and boost of vitality. Vibroacoustic therapy minimizes the overwhelmed mind of chaotic imaginative scenarios and negative streams of thoughts, emotions, sensations, imagination, and memories.

These examples of healing through rhythm and drumming have helped many patients affected by PTSD. As David Oteino Akombo, P.H D states that, “Early counseling and crisis intervention through music are important for people who have experienced extremely stressful situations. Musical interventions may help prevent chronic forms of PTSD and should be part of public health responses to groups at risk such as disaster victims.”

These music therapy practices help children affected by PTSD cope with their illness without added side effects. Help CMF provide music therapy programs to children with PTSD by volunteering or donating today. Show support and tell the benefits of music therapy, help on its mission of healing through music.

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