If you are an Illinois or Missouri caregiver for a loved one recovering from the disabling effects of a stroke, this information will be of interest. Researchers have found that someone who has suffered a stroke that left them with impaired speech is often able to sing a familiar song fluently. They are able to do this because the area of the brain that governs expressive language skills is different than that responsible for music production. By taking advantage of that difference, music therapists and speech therapists can work together to help patients regain verbal abilities. They also use music therapy to help patients who have damaged upper or lower extremities regain function.

Music Therapy and Speech

To help overcome aphasia, patients typically participate in music therapy several times a week. The more frequently patients are able to practice, the better their chance for recovery. During therapy sessions, they use repetitive musical exercises to help non-damaged areas of the brain learn how to accomplish what the damaged areas used to do. Exercises can include singing, chanting, mouth exercises and more. All are designed to help retrain the brain.

Music Therapy and Motor Skill Functioning

Another area where music can help stroke recovery patients is in physical therapy. Music therapy is used by physical therapists who are trying to help someone who has had a stroke regain fine and gross motor skills. The technique is referred to as Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS). RAS works by using a steady, rhythmic beat that patients match their walking gait to during therapy. It helps them regulate their steps and keeps them motivated to continue.

More Resources

If you are interested in learning more about the role music therapy can play in stroke recovery, visit The Stroke Foundation.

To find a professional music therapist near you, use this online music therapist search directory provided by the American Music Therapy Association.