“From the tiniest premature infants to the elderly, research and personal experience have shown that live music provided by trained music practitioners can ease both mental and physical suffering,” according to Music Partners in Healthcare, a nonprofit organization based in the Sacramento area.
Therapeutic music performed by live musicians can “facilitate relaxation, assist stabilization, and help bring familiarity to patients who are confused or anxious.”
Research published in the Harvard Heart Letter, Clinical Journal of Oncology, Journal of Music Therapy and other journals have shown that therapeutic music is effective in:
Lowering blood pressure,
Improving heart health, and
Supporting a more peaceful passing.
Through Music Partners in Healthcare, Eskaton Foundation has brought therapeutic music into the lives of skilled nursing patients at Eskaton care centers in the Sacramento area since 2011. The impact on patients and family members is extraordinary.
One patient who suffers from dementia brightened, engaged in a conversation with her son, and recited familiar poetry with him after a harpist performed music from her culture. A husband’s favorite song helped a patient and her daughter find solace after he passed away. Another patient, after hearing music that reminded her of her home in Wisconsin, opened up to the chaplain about her memories and feelings for the first time.
Therapeutic music performed by live, interactive trained music practitioners reaches patients who are suffering at the most basic level. A gentleman who was rapidly declining asked his wife to promise that the harp lady would always be welcome at his bedside. He explained, “I find joy and peace in her beautiful harp music.”
If you would like to bring therapeutic music into your life or that of a loved one, below are a few easy steps to consider:
Determine if you would like to work with a trained therapeutic music practitioner or a music therapist. The National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians notes that, “The practice of the therapeutic musician is to use the intrinsic healing elements of live music and sound to provide an environment conducive to the human healing process.” Music therapists provide interactive direct therapy to their clients.