How Music Therapy Can Support People Living With Diabetes
Have you ever thought of the potential benefit that music might have on the emotional and physical well-being of a person living with diabetes? Keep reading to learn how music therapy might support your health if you are living with diabetes.
What Is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a profession where music is used to reach emotional well-being and physical health goals in people living with a variety of different conditions that affect physical and mental well-being, including stress and anxiety.
Music therapy is flexible, in that it can be adapted to an individual’s goals and response to different music types like instrumental, classical, and even pop music.1
Different Ways Music Therapy May Be Used To Support People Living With Type 1 Diabetes
Music therapy is shown to be beneficial for people living with type 1 diabetes, and for the general population by supporting emotional well-being while also motivating people to follow exercise guidance.1, 2
- More frequent exercise: Research has showed that when music therapy is combined with exercise, it motivates people to stay active.2 In people living with diabetes, regular exercise supported with music therapy results in improved blood circulation in the feet.2
- Improved emotional wellbeing: Music therapy is shown to provide short-term beneficial effects on the mood and symptoms of people with depression.3 People living with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than the general population.4 Music therapy may improve the emotional well-being of people living with diabetes.
- Improves breathing, heart rate, pain, and anxiety: Researchers studied the effect of music therapy on people in intensive care units for a variety of reasons and found that they had significant improvements in well-being measures when compared to those who underwent relaxation therapy.5 If a person living with diabetes is experiencing pain or anxiety, music therapy in addition to getting the right treatment may improve their well-being.
Currently, there are no official guidelines or recommendations regarding the use of music therapy in diabetes management. However, some important research is underway that may help shine light on how music therapy can be best used to support people living with diabetes. 6
Here are some of our thoughts on how music could fit into your regular routine:
- Explore a variety of music and pay special attention to how your body and mind react to it. Does it make you feel happy? Relaxed? Motivated? When you want to feel a certain way, you can play that specific type of music.
- Create playlists for different moods and the feeling you want to achieve.
- If your diabetes healthcare team has motivated you to stay active, create a playlist that will motivate you to get moving – whether that means an intense run in the park or dancing in the kitchen!
- Seek out the support of a music therapist in your area or online.
Music therapy has shown to have positive benefits for a wide range of conditions that affect emotional wellbeing and physical health. If you have tried music therapy and found that has helped with your diabetes management share this with your healthcare team so they could recommend it to others.
Whether or not you choose to reach out to a music therapist, if listening to music makes you feel good and motivates you to stay active, feel confident in making music a part of your day!
1. Hallam S, Cross I, Thaut M. The Oxford Handbook Of Music Psychology. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press; 2016:806-870.
2. Ji L, Bai J, Sun J, Ming Y, Chen L. Effect of combining music media therapy with lower extremity exercise on elderly patients with diabetes mellitus. Int J Nurs Sci. 2015;2(3):243-247.
3. Aalbers S, Fusar-Poli L, Freeman R et al. Music therapy for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017
4. Sartorius, N. Depression and diabetes. Body-mind interaction in psychiatry. 2018;20(1):47-52.
5. Mofredj A, Alaya S, Tassaioust K, Bahloul H, Mrabet A. Music therapy, a review of the potential therapeutic benefits for the critically ill. J Crit Care. 2016; 35:195-199.
6. Zhou L, Zhang Y, Tian Y, et al. Effect of music intervention on mental health in patients with diabetes mellitus: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2020;10:e036268.