Art & Essential Tremor: An Unusual Pairing

For those with essential tremor, symptomatic relief can come from surprising places. Did you know that music can help lessen essential tremor symptoms? While it does not replace treatment, working with a therapist—or even winding down with relaxing, low-tempo music—can help calm down a tremor. Let’s see how this works.

Music therapy isn’t new. Research has shown the benefits music provides, such as a decrease in depression and anxiety levels and a boosted immune system. High-tempo beats can add a burst of energy—and low-tempo songs can put a person in a quiet, relaxed state. This relaxed state doesn’t just have mental benefits,it also calms your muscles and nervous system. Anxiety and stress can be essential tremor triggers, so addressing stress levels through music can have a positive effect on tremors.

Music therapy has already been used to help people with Parkinson’s. By focusing their attention on a beat picked out by a music therapist, these individuals have displayed better movement and find it easier to perform tasks that were previously complicated by their tremor. The types of music used for these sessions is based on what an individual personally prefers—but treatment can’t be limited to only a few songs. The brain adjusts over time, and a lack of variety can cause you to lose the initial positive impact.

Before pursuing music therapy, it’s important to know what your personal tremor triggers are. It’s also beneficial to look for a music therapist who specializes in movement disorders. By working together with a specialist, you’ll be able to get the most out of your therapy sessions. It’s important to remember that therapy is continuous and is not a replacement for medication or other forms of treatment. While it’s not covered under most insurance plans, carriers in some states may offer reimbursement based on medical necessity.

If your insurance doesn’t cover music therapy, that’s okay—find a low-tempo song that you enjoy, and take a few moments to listen and relax. This will still put you in a better state of mind. If your essential tremor symptoms are severe enough that music therapy doesn’t offer much relief, consider seeking treatment. Our educators at the Essential Tremor Education Center are more than happy to answer your questions about tremors and potential treatment options. You can speak with an educator today by calling 844-NO-TREMOR.