Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Clapping Therapy

I absolutely love clapping in music (though other supposed music lovers I know detest it). As it turns out, there is a ‘clapping therapy’ also know as interactive metronome training.

Interactive Metronome® was developed in 1994 by Jim Cassily, a recording engineer … who taught piano lessons on the side, discovered that I.M. helped his autistic students. Not only did they get the timing down, it also helped them with attention, concentration, coordination, language processing, reading skills and control of aggression.

One study on children with attention and coordination disorders found, “...Interactive Metronome training may address deficits in visuomotor control and speed, but appears to have little effect on sustained attention or motor inhibition.”

A case study: “This child's participation in a new intervention for improving timing and coordination was associated with changes in timing accuracy, gross and fine motor abilities, and parent reported behaviors.”

A study on children with ADHD: “The Interactive Metronome training appears to facilitate a number of capacities, including attention, motor control, and selected academic skills, in boys with ADHD.”

A Parkinson’s study: “These results suggest that computer-based motor training
regimens might be useful for improving or retaining motor function in Parkinson’s disease.”

Another Parkinson’s study: “This study provides evidence for the potential of cueing to improve gait in PD-CI. Only individuals with mild CI were included, and the effect with increased CI and different types of dementia requires further evaluation.”

A Parkinson’s study which examines an alternative to the audio metronome: “Rhythmic somatosensory cueing may be a viable alternative for auditory cueing and is robust to changes in walking speed and visual distractors.”

A study in schizophrenic patients found that, “…patients with marked negative symptoms performed best when their actions were more stimulus-driven [marked by metronome] than willed [consciously attempting to perform well] strengthens the case that negative schizophrenic symptoms reflect a disorder of willed action.”

A paper published by the Institute for Applied Psychometrics looks at four different timing therapies and has a long list of references for further reading.

According to a site which sells the IM, “The device can strengthen motor skills, including mobility and gross motor function, and improve many fundamental cognitive capacities such as planning, organizing and language.”

Clapping itself is used in conjunction with music therapy in the treatment of autism, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.



As far as I can tell, there has been no clinical research investigating the specific effects of clapping on mood. But it is exercise, so I imagine a heavy regime of clapping could boost mood.

A song about clapping that refuses to let you dwell in a bad mood:

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