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Massage and music therapy aid healing

Treating the whole patient – mind, body and spirit – sometimes takes a non-traditional look at treatment. Complementary therapies such as massage and music therapy are helping patients at Baptist Health Louisville feel better.

Patients in the Cancer Care Center at the hospital began benefiting from massage therapy more than two years ago. Now patients are benefiting from the healing effects of music.

Four hours per week, a music therapist brings music to patients and their families. Whether it is singing favorite songs or playing instruments, music brings healing.

Patients have pain, anxiety, depression and other symptoms. Music elicits emotions and that can be very beneficial. Many patients feel they have lost control of their lives and themselves due to their health and music is used as a means to show them that they still have control of many aspects of their health. Music can help people relax and cope with stress in their lives.

Patients are identified for music therapy by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, physicians and caregivers and give their permission to receive a visit from a music therapist. After therapy, patients receive a follow-up to evaluate their experience. Thus far, there have been many positive comments from patients and families.

Ray Egan, a patient on the unit, sang some familiar songs and learned relaxation techniques during his session with the music therapist. Egan said a rendition of "My Old Kentucky Home" reminded him of grade school when he read about Stephen Foster and learned the songs.

Patients really enjoy participating in the program, as do their families, and that’s very important to improving their overall outlook and health. Many different patient populations have benefited from music therapy over the years. More and more it is being noticed for its positive effects with patients.

Music therapy is provided through generous donations to the hospital’s Oncology Fund.

The hope eventually is to use music therapy for assistance with relief of pain, nausea and for other areas of symptom management. Baptist East's breast cancer support group incorporates music therapy as well.

Patients on the Cancer Care Center may also receive massage therapy, if considered appropriate by their physician and treatment team. The therapy is provided as a gift from the Oncology Fund.