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Can Music Lessons Prevent Post Partum Depression?
European therapists seem to think so and suggest music therapy is a much safer alternative than medications in staving off the dreaded baby blues
Today at a press conference in Toronto, Jonathan Rigby, the newly-elected Chairman of the Ontario Music Society cited statistics of Health Canada that reflect post partum depression affects nearly 40% of all new mothers to some degree. “This is especially sad since the birth of a new family member comes so seldom that it should be a joyous time for the entire family”. But after reporting the bad news he brought forward the good and announced medical study reports from the 2007 European Music Therapy Congress held in Augsburg, Germany that show Music Lessons undertaken by pregnant and new mothers are more than 90% effective in staving off those post-partum baby blues. The results of the study can be found at www.MusicTherapy2007.com
“Music instruction has long been used to combat other forms of depression, stress, and dementia since the 1950s, and it’s therapeutic value is nothing less than amazing” said Rigby who went on to explain “It seems that when one is immersed in a creative task in which such pleasant results are obtained, the personal gratification is more than enough to calm and soothe one’s soul. Art classes also provide a similar effect.” Rigby urges all obstetricians and family doctors to encourage their pregnant patients to pursue preventative therapy in their last trimester and to continue for at least one year after birth. “Unfortunately, not many music schools and academies in Ontario offer Music Therapy programs and we will be petitioning Ontario’s Health Minister to offer subsidies to those that do.” In the GTA for example there are only three music schools that offer Music Therapy - Judy’s Music School in Mississauga, Elaine Ma in Thornhill, and Michelle Song in Toronto. Judy’s Music School offers morning and afternoon sessions M-F and the others offer evening sessions M-F. Further information and comprehensive courses in Music Therapy are available through Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada’s leading authority on music therapy.
“Most Music Therapy sessions range from $25 to $100 for private sessions of 30 to 60 minutes or group sessions which are generally about half the price, and should be done at least once a week” advised Rigby who further suggested “But the therapeutic effect is greatly enhanced if mothers practice at home at least 30 minutes a day. Although just listening to some classical or new age music on a regular basis provides some temporarily relief, actually playing an instrument seems to provide a permanent cheer to one’s disposition”