Music Therapy and Stroke Rehabilitation

“Music is a multimodal stimulus that activates many brain structures related to sensory processing, attention, and memory, and can stimulate complex cognition and multi-sensory integration,” (Strzemecka, 2013). This writer from Poland goes on to state several different ways that music is processed in the brain and how stroke affects so many parts of the brain so severely. He then goes on to state that rehabilitation should be addressing several different needs of the patient that are desirable by the patient. 

Music, not just music therapy, can be used to support patients in their daily lives. Just listening to music on a daily basis can help with memory and attention. Music training can help with processing of speech and music. Listening to music can activate different parts of your brain related to memory, reward behavior, coping, emotions, regulating one’s immune system, hormones, and satisfaction of needs. 

This writer goes on to mention Neurologic Music Therapy, or NMT, “is based on a neuroscience model of music perception and production, and the influence of music on functional changes in the brain and behavior functions,” (Strzemecka, 2013), can be used as a form of treatment for cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions. Music Auditory Stimulation, and Melodic Intonation Therapy are also mentioned as music therapy forms of treatment. These forms of treatment can lead to neural reorganization, functional connectivity, improvements in movements and mood. 

Strzemecka goes on to discuss Music-Supported Therapy, or MST. “This therapy involves repetitive exercises using musical instruments in order to train fine and gross motor functions in patients suffering from mild to moderate upper limb paresis after a stroke, (Strzemecka, 2013). This article mentions how different studies showed that there were significant motor gains, finger dexterity, and upper extremity use for people who received this type of therapy. 

Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) is the use of singing or sung patterns to exaggerate the normal melodic content of speech. This type of therapy has resulted in improvement of speech and language tasks and restructuring in the right hemisphere after MRI scans. 

In conclusion, this article states the “music therapy… should be used as one of the permanent elements of stroke rehabilitation,” (Strzemecka, 2013).

By Gwen D’Amico, MT-BC

Citation: Strzemecka, J. (2013). Music therapy in stroke rehabilitation. Journal of Pre-Clinical and Clinical Research, 7(1).