Today we celebrate World Music Therapy Day! Music Therapy is the proficient use of music and its elements by an HCPC registered music therapist to encourage, maintain, and restore mental, physical, and emotional health. The emotional, structural, and creative qualities of music are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Ana Pessoa, Neurologic Music Therapy Lead at Hollanden Park Hospital, asked Amy recovering from polyneuropathy with neuropathic pain and limbs weakness, what has Music Therapy done for her since admission to Hollanden Park Hospital.
Here’s what Amy had to say about her experience in Ana’s sessions:
“Music therapy has been a surprise in my rehabilitation process. I did not know what Music Therapy meant or what was it for and now I fully appreciate it and understand why it is so needed.
Music Therapy has helped me move my body in ways I did not know I could. My legs and feet just want to move with the music you play. Music feeds my brain with the right stimulation for movement to happen, so it just happens more and more every week.
I have discovered how breathing and music combined can help me come back from panic attacks. When I had a panic attack Ana helped me understand why I had one in the first place and then she knew exactly what to play to bring my heartbeat to normal. Playing the piano with 4 hands with Ana, improvising, and letting the music guide us, made my heartbeat feel calm and normal again. That was mind blowing, I did not know this was possible and I don’t fully understand why it happens the way it does, but I know it helps me.
Music has been the vehicle to reflecting on issues from my past. Traumatic events from the past were holding me up, but no more! I even started dreaming again and I was not disabled in my dream, I could run. So, if I can dream it I can make it happen!
Music Therapy has also made me tolerate touch. I am exploring new sensations on parts of my body, e.g. my feet – I did not allow anyone to touch them, the pain used to be unbearable. Right now, it is like having grown new skin and my feet are just soaking in all the new experiences. When I feel the vibrations coming from the steel drum, it feels like my feet are having a party and I am not invited, just my feet!
I can’t wait to see what the future looks like, I have allowed myself to dream of a career and I think I would love to come back to a place like this and help others with the same love and care I am receiving here.
I now understand that if I am emotionally strong I will likely recover physically. That is very clear to me and Music Therapy played a big part in this realisation.”