Music to Heal

August 24, 2015

Every day at the UC Irvine Douglas Hospital, patients have their doors open in hopes of receiving a visit from one of the Music to Heal volunteers. As one of the hospital’s many volunteer programs that aim to increase the well being of hospitalized patients, Music to Heal allows patients to relax through the soothing effects of music from their own room.

Claire Kim Sunny Hills High School  11th grade

Claire Kim
Sunny Hills High School
11th grade

Music has become a new, universal therapy used in hospitals. For example, Melodic Intonation Therapy, or MIT, was introduced in 1973 as a form of treatment for patients with aphasia, a disability that makes communication challenging.

Patients with memory loss, depression, or aphasia can simply be treated with the sounds of music. Studies show that the rhythms and beats present in music can replace the areas in which the brain lacks efficiency. Thus, such treatment helps with patients’ communication and relaxation, which serves as one of the main purposes of MIT.

UCI’s Music to Heal program aims to bring hope for the hospitalized patients who are immobile and depressed. To them, hearing or receiving a visit from just a mere volunteer can brighten their day and make them aware of the opportunities still available to them. Patients are not only able to hear the captivating music, but also converse with the volunteer.

As a volunteer of the Music to Heal program, I have had firsthand experience working together with these patients. However, I am more frequently found in the lobby where there are throngs of visitors that come and go while listening to my music. I learned that the visitors as well become “healed” with music.

While listening, the visitors’ faces start to become less tense and their emotionless expressions are replaced with a smile.

From the visitor’s perspective, Music to Heal is not a program frequently found at other hospitals; therefore, it makes the program that much more effective to the crowd.

Many visitors have commented that the music they hear throughout the hospital makes them feel reassured that their family is in safe hands at the Douglas Hospital. Music to Heal serves as a bridge between the patients and the faculty at the hospital because it represents communication and well being.

One Comment

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