Music therapy can help during neurorehabilitation of acute stroke patients and also improve their moods, according to a recent study.
The study was done by researchers at the Anglia Ruskin University in the UK and performed at the stroke and rehabilitation unit at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, U.K.
For over two years, 177 patients participated in 675 Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) sessions as part of their rehabilitation. The results were based on responses from the patients, their relatives, and health professionals. The study’s findings were published in the journal Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation.
It is known that music therapy can help stroke patients improve their mood, concentration and brain function. The music therapy can also bring physical improvement in arm function and gait.
Neurorehabilitation of stroke patients involves a large number of repetitions. The patients play physical instruments like the keyboard, drums and hand-held percussion. The also use iPads with touchscreen instrument to improve hand function and finger dexterity.
The NMT sessions were given to these patients along with other modes of treatment such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and clinical psychology.
Positive Benefits, Better Mood
The patients, their relatives, and health professionals were then asked to complete questionnaires. Of the total of 139 surveyed, the average response was “helpful” or “very helpful.” In addition, 52 patients responded that there was a reduction in “sad” and an increase in “happy” responses immediately following a session.
The patients were also observed to have better engagement, showing that the NMT sessions help them overcome low mood and fatigue.
Alex Street, the lead author, said that the Neurologic Music Therapy sessions were enthusiastically received by patients, their relatives, and staff.
“Staff felt that using music and instruments allowed patients to achieve a high amount of repetition to help achieve their goals. They felt that the exercises appear less clinical, because the patients are playing music with the music therapist, and they are receiving immediate feedback from the exercises, through the sounds they create. Further research is necessary to establish potential effects of music therapy on recovery rate and length of hospital stay,” he said.