Music Therapy is available with Leslie Shoecraft, NMT-BC (Neurologic Music Therapist, Board Certified) of Rhythm – N – You spearheading the efforts for the program with certain Holzer services.

On Monday, January 15, Shoecraft will lead an Oncology Music Therapy Support Group at Holzer Therapy & Wellness Center in Gallipolis from 2pm to 3pm.  This event is designed for oncology patients and their caregivers to attend. 

“Music is an essential part of improving the quality of life,” continues Shoecraft. “While music has traditionally been thought of as soothing, relaxing, and pleasant to listen to, Music Therapy uses music to help with rehabilitation in several ways. It can provide help with pain relief and anxiety making oncology treatments a more pleasant experience.” 

Currently, Music Therapy is offered in the Holzer Center for Cancer Care infusion area.  Patients receiving treatment can expect live music, an opportunity to sing and/or play along, and may even create original music. The music therapy support group in January will be a time to participate in making music together and offer support strategies for oncology patients and their caregivers. 

Music therapy has many applications.  Music Therapy can improve speech in patients with speech problems through the use of rhythm and pitch exercises during singing. Recent neurological research suggests that singing uses parts of the brain other than the speech center, and music therapy can help retrain the brain’s pathways to improve speech, even if that part of the brain has been injured. 

Music Therapy can help gait and walking problems with the use of musical rhythm, especially those with Parkinson’s Disease. This improvement may last even after the music has stopped. 

Often, temporary improvement in memory and communication in dementia (including Alzheimer’s) can be seen by having the patient sing familiar songs and then try to recall experiences related to the song. 

Participation in the playing of musical instruments and composing songs can result in better patient cooperation in necessary physical exercise sessions. It also helps develop decision-making and socialization skills. Of course, the object is to produce a pleasing musical sound with the instruments so that patients will want to participate. Music Therapy uses music to encourage specific needed exercises, more socialization, and to improve activities of daily living. It does so in a pleasant, entertaining way. Of course, this does require a creative Music Therapist. The process often creates a bond with the patient who may need and appreciate this human concern. 

The field of Music Therapy is still undergoing intensive research in how the brain works, in which findings may result in better treatments options for patients. For more information, please call 740.446.5901.

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