Music therapy for children with cancer

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

music2Gabe was diagnosed with leukemia in 1996 and had to undergo 38 months of cancer treatments. Tough times for a two-year old boy. Yet Gabe survived and he’s off treatment for almost 10 years now. What helped him and his family through the difficult years of chemotherapy was music.

Music therapy (also known as or related to melodic intonation therapy, psychoacoustics, and biomusicology) has been used in different ways to promote health. It has been used in stress management and relaxation and very recently also in the management of medical problems such as stroke and neurological disorders. In people with epilepsy for example, certain pieces such as Mozart’s paino sonata K448 helps reduce the number of seizures.  In children, music has been used in the management of autism, learning disabilities, and posttraumatic stress disorder. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy interventions may be designed to

Researchers at the Massachussets Institute of Technology are doing research on Music Mind, and Health with directions towards music augmentation of healthy and ill individuals. Alzheimer’s disease and austism are two of diseases that the researchers at looking at.

Music therapy in cancer patients is a relatively new field. Gabe’s mother Lisa White and her family launched Rock Against Cancer, a not-for-profit organization which provides music therapy to pediatric oncology units and arranges music-related events for kids with cancer.

A 1995 study by researchers at the Center for Music Research of the Florida State University in Tallahassee reports:

“Music therapy is a profession which meets multiple physical, social, and psychological needs. Music therapists can facilitate health objectives by reducing the intensity or duration of pain, alleviating anxiety, and decreasing the amount of analgesic medication needed. Rehabilitative objectives can include activities which incorporate exercise, range of motion therapy, or gait training. Reduction of fear, anxiety, stress, or grief are common psychological objectives. Music therapy is particularly effective in promoting social objectives such as increased interaction, verbalization, independence, and cooperation; enhanced relationships with health care personnel and family members; and increased stimulation during long-term hospitalization or isolation. Counseling techniques are often paired with music to achieve emotional objectives such as expression, adjustment, stability, or locus of control.”

Indeed in the case of children with cancer like Gabe who had to go through chemo and radiation therapy, music can be a great help in surviving through the horrible side effects of these treatments. For the parents and caregivers of these children, music can also help ease stress and anxiety.

Music Therapy to Combat Stress in Diabetics

July 31, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Music has the amazing ability to turn emotions on and off, to transport us to another place and yes, to heal.

Music transcends race, sex, religion and boundaries of time and space.

What’s playing on your iPod, your computer, or in the background of your mind?

Right now I’m listening to Paul Baker’s, Tranquil Harp, because to me the music translates to calming empowerment.

We’ve discussed the Diabetes/Stress Connection before.

Stress releases hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that will increase your blood glucose levels. While this is good on a temporary basis to provide energy to deal with a threatening fight or flight situation, chronic stress keeps your glucose levels elevated which can create insulin resistance and high glucose levels.

Did you know music therapy is a great way to reduce stress levels?

From the American Music Therapy Association, the definition of music therapy:

Music Therapy is an established health care profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • promote wellness
  • manage stress
  • alleviate pain
  • express feelings
  • enhance memory
  • improve communication
  • promote physical rehabilitation

Combining music and science to promote healing and wellness, is the philosophy of The Institute of Music and Neurological Function.

The Institute utilizes psychotherapy trained music therapists to facilitate with the goal of facilitating self-expression and providing emotional support. Music becomes a method of communication, a tool of expression and a coping mechanism.

Goals of a this type of emotional support therapy include reduced pain, relaxation, stimulated communication and learned coping skills.

The Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy located on the campus of NYU and affiliated with a graduate program in music therapy, offers programs for children, adolescents and adults to cope with life stressors and to provide therapeutic self expression.

Stanford University’s Center for Music Research and Acoustics released some preliminary symposium results stating that “music with a strong beat stimulates the brain and ultimately causes brainwaves to resonate in time with the rhythm, research has shown. Slow beats encourage the slow brainwaves that are associated with hypnotic or meditative states. Faster beats may encourage more alert and concentrated thinking.”

Don Campbell’s The Mozart Effect Resource Center is all about the “transformational powers of music, health, education and well being.”

Campbell’s book, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit.

Publisher description: Stimulating, authoritative, and often lyrical, The Mozart Effect has a simple but life-changing message: music is medicine for the body, the mind, and the soul. Campbell shows how modern science has begun to confirm this ancient wisdom, finding evidence that listening to certain types of music can improve the quality of life in almost every respect. Here are dramatic accounts of how music is used to deal with everything from anxiety to cancer, high blood pressure, chronic pain, dyslexia, and even mental illness.

I recently asked a friend what she was listening to on her iPod as we waited for the light rail to arrive. She told me and then added, “I think of it as background music for my life.”

I like that.

Why not deliberately stage the background music for your life?

Resources:

Press TV, July 30, 2008. Stress Linked to Diabetes in Men.

The Times Online, May 22, 2007. Body and Mind: How the Power of Music Lifts and Heals.

American Diabetes Association–Stress: All About Diabetes

Duke Medical News:Stress Management Can Help Control Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes

The Healing Power of Music

April 10, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

Music has the amazing ability to turn emotions on and off, to transport us to another place and yes, to heal.

Music transcends race, sex, religion and boundaries of time and space.

What’s playing on your iPod, your computer, or in the background of your mind?

Right now I’m listening to Enya’s Paint the Sky with Stars, because to me the music translates to calming empowerment.

How does music factor into complementary cancer therapy?

musical-notes.jpg

From the American Music Therapy Association, the definition of music therapy:

Music Therapy is an established health care profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • promote wellness
  • manage stress
  • alleviate pain
  • express feelings
  • enhance memory
  • improve communication
  • promote physical rehabilitation

Combining music and science to promote healing and wellness, is the philosophy of The Institute of Music and Neurological Function.

The Institute utilizes psychotherapy trained music therapists to facilitate with the goal of facilitating self-expression and providing emotional support. Music becomes a method of communication, a tool of expression and a coping mechanism.

Goals of a this type of emotional support therapy include reduced pain, relaxation, stimulated communication and learned coping skills.

The Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy located on the campus of NYU and affiliated with a graduate program in music therapy, offers programs for children, adolescents and adults to cope with life stressors and to provide therapeutic self expression.

Stanford University’s Center for Music Research and Acoustics released some preliminary symposium results stating that “music with a strong beat stimulates the brain and ultimately causes brainwaves to resonate in time with the rhythm, research has shown. Slow beats encourage the slow brainwaves that are associated with hypnotic or meditative states. Faster beats may encourage more alert and concentrated thinking.”

Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings shares “As a result of a brain tumor, my patient Greg has not been able to retain any new memories since the 1970s. But if we talk about or play his favorite Grateful Dead songs, his amnesia is bypassed. He becomes vividly animated and can reminisce about their early concerts.” In 2006 Dr. Sacks received the Music Has Power Award given to individuals whose accomplishments have brought new understanding to the use of the power of music to heal and awaken.

Music for pain? A SciencCentral News video shares that music can boost the effectiveness of pain medications, reducing pain up to 31%.

Don Campbell’s The Mozart Effect Resource Center is all about the “transformational powers of music, health, education and well being.”

Campbell’s book, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit.

Publisher description: Stimulating, authoritative, and often lyrical, The Mozart Effect has a simple but life-changing message: music is medicine for the body, the mind, and the soul. Campbell shows how modern science has begun to confirm this ancient wisdom, finding evidence that listening to certain types of music can improve the quality of life in almost every respect. Here are dramatic accounts of how music is used to deal with everything from anxiety to cancer, high blood pressure, chronic pain, dyslexia, and even mental illness.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.