Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Soothing Magical Power of Quiet Heart Music

This week I was prompted to think again about the power of music, especially its ability to console and soothe. These thoughts led me to pick up the phone and call a lifelong friend, Henry Wiens of Quiet Heart Music, whose piano CDs are designed purposefully to this end, to comfort and heal. Afterwards he passed along to me a recent letter from a "customer"... the kind of feedback that keeps him motivated to continue sharing his music. (Posted below.)

The trigger for all this was a USA Today article that included some interesting insights on this topic.

"Often, music therapy is more cost-effective than administering medication, especially for patients with anxiety, sleep disturbances or pain," says Al Bumanis, spokesman for the American Music Therapy Association.

A 2007 survey of U.S. health facilities by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, along with the Joint Commission and Americans for the Arts, found that of the 1,923 facilities, 35% offered some type of music to patients.

Besides promoting relaxation and reducing stress, music therapy has been shown to affect sleep patterns, improve stroke patients' memories and decrease the amount of sedation medication needed for some patients.*

Here's the letter that Henry forwarded to me:

Henry,
I’ve been meaning to email you for a while but just getting around to it now. I hope you are well.


My mother had a rough summer as she progresses further into the depths of Alzheimer’s disease. She no longer can feed herself or walk. Most days she is unaware of her surroundings and gets agitated very easily with noise and multiple people in the same room. My sister and I tried many things to calm her and have her be more relaxed and peaceful. We bought a few soft animals for her to hold. A soft blanket for her lap, and then my sister remembered she had bought your CD at the Pittsburgh conference last year. Your music has been key to calming my mother. When we start the music she closes her eyes as if she is visualizing a green pasture and feeling a warm breeze. It’s amazing to watch the tension leave her face and her body relax.


I will be purchasing some CDs for the facility where my mother is residing so everyone on her floor can experience the calm, soothing magic of your music. Thank you for providing this for not just folks with dementia but everyone who needs to restore tranquility and calm to their day.

Lois

Are you stressed out because of this whirlwind called the holidays? Do you have life complications driving you to distraction? Does the armor you wear during your workday make you weary by day's end? How do you spell relief? I spell it, M-U-S-I-C.

*
Music provides healing grace note for hospital patients
USA Today June 17, 2008

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