The Connection Between Music And Parkinson 's Disease

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Although music is usually immediately associated with emotional response it is important to delve deeper into the healing physical power of music. At the basic root music is nothing but vibration. However, vibration can also be a source of pain and dysfunction. Take, for example, the case of Parkinson’s disease where one’s tremors can make even the simplest of task seem impossible. Parkinson’s is a common neurodegenerative disease, “An estimated 55,000 Canadians...reported that they had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.” (, 2015). I have interacted with many seniors who have unfortunately fallen prey to this disease. It is hard for them to move, to walk and in severe cases even speaking becomes a challenge. Something as simple, yet as fundamental, as movement so easily stripped away from them. Seemingly helpless, these people struggle with everyday tasks until they hear music being played. Oliver Sacks did several case studies observing the connection between music and Parkinson’s disease and states: “...almost all of them respond in some way to music.” (Blacking, 249). This point helps reiterate the aforementioned statement that Blacking made about musicality being innate. Music doesn’t distinguish between gender, race or sexuality everyone can respond in some way because music is so ingrained in our culture and therefore, ourselves. Physical connection to music is shown through our innate ability to keep time, tendency to tap our foot or be motivated to dance. Music that can help heal people with Parkinson 's “is not only legato, but has a well-defined rhythm.” (Blacking, 252) This slow but metric music is so effective in temporarily alleviating Parkinson 's because it provides patients everything which they... ... middle of paper ... ...lationships between individuals who are vulnerable to be depressed or lonely. The role of music therapy is paramount in maintaining seniors’ well being. It is the best form of healing because it is holistic and patient focus. Music therapy provides opportunities to relive the past, enjoy the present, and look towards the future. It is versatile in its uses and be as specific or broad as needed. Music therapy shouldn’t be an optional form of treatment. Retirement and nursing homes should have structured music therapy opportunities for those seeking physical, emotional or social healing. Its immediate and long term repercussions benefit not only the seniors directly but the community around them. In a society where elder neglect is common and where Alzheimer and Parkinson rates are on the rise, seniors need music therapy. Music to feel, music to hear and music to heal.

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