Thursday, August 18, 2011

Healing Through Music

If you've considered taking up an instrument or getting your child into band, you may not realize that such exposures to music may even bring health benefits. This short review from HealthDay News reminds us of music's positive impact on anxiety, pain, and quality of life.

As we've incorporated music into our daily routines, we've become more patient and creative, and experience greater peace in the midst of mundane activities like sorting laundry and doing the dishes. A favorite in our home is when we play the Star Wars theme song to get our kids up in the morning. They spring out of bed with smiles on their faces, ready to start the day! But beyond fun and energizing, studies attest to music's powerful contribution to healing.

An article entitled Behavior Disorders of Dementia: Recognition and Treatment published in the American Family Physician Journal includes music therapy as a modality shown to help patients with psychotic behaviors, as can be seen in Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. "Music therapy and pet therapy, which create a homelike environment in nursing homes, seem to lessen behaviors associated with psychosis and enhance patients’ quality of life."* I experienced this healing power of music when I delivered my daughter with no pain meds at all, only the glorious Magnificat playing in the background.

I recently had the privilege of observing a wonderful friend minister to her dying mother over many months. Her mother loved the opera and, in her last days, my thoughtful friend decided to pay an opera singer to sing for her mother - at her bedside! No longer strong enough to go to the opera, imagine this mother's joy when the opera came to her. Now that's what I call living life to its fullest!

So, today, turn on the radio. Play an old song that brings back great memories, and sing to your heart's delight. And, then, when you wake up tomorrow, do it again, mindful of life and all its joys, including the wonderful gift of music.

Dr Mari

*O’Donnell M, Molloy DW, Rabheru K. Dysfunctional behaviour in dementia: a clinician’s guide. Dundas, Ontario: New Grange Press; 2001.

1 comment:

  1. Music to my soul is really medicine to my soul, isn't it? I think of the countless times I've sung "You Raise Me Up." When I sing that song--albeit off-key--I can feel it reach my core, renewing me with strength. I love your confirmation here, Mari, of the healing power of music. God provides so many healing tools for us! Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.


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