Music therapy in neurological rehabilitation settings
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Klinika Nerwic IPiN w Warszawie
Submission date: 2013-12-07
Final revision date: 2014-03-16
Acceptance date: 2014-04-14
Publication date: 2015-08-31
Corresponding author
Elżbieta Galińska   

Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie, ul. Piekałkiewicza 3 m 1, 00-710 Warszawa, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2015;49(4):835-846
The neurologic music therapy is a new scope of music therapy. Its techniques deal with dysfunctions resulting from diseases of the human nervous system. Music can be used as an alternative modality to access functions unavailable through non-musical stimulus. Processes in the brain activated by the influence of music can be generalized and transferred to non-musical functions. Therefore, in clinical practice, the translation of non-musical therapeutic exercises into analogous, isomorphic musical exercises is performed. They make use of the executive peculiarity of musical instruments and musical structures to prime, cue and coordinate movements. Among musical components, a repetitive rhythm plays a significant role. It regulates physiologic and behavioural functions through the mechanism of entrainment (synchronization of biological rhythms with musical rhythm based on acoustic resonance). It is especially relevant for patients with a deficient internal timing system in the brain. Additionally, regular rhythmic patterns facilitate memory encoding and decoding of non-musical information hence music is an efficient mnemonic tool. The music as a hierarchical, compound language of time, with its unique ability to access affective/motivational systems in the brain, provides time structures enhancing perception processes, mainly in the range of cognition, language and motor learning. It allows for emotional expression and improvement of the motivation for rehabilitation activities. The new technologies of rhythmic sensory stimulation (i.e. Binaural Beat Stimulation) or rhythmic music in combination with rhythmic light therapy appear. This multimodal forms of stimulation are used in the treatment of stroke, brain injury, dementia and other cognitive deficits. Clinical outcome studies provide evidence of the significant superiority of rehabilitation with music over the one without music.
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