Music therapy heals the body and soothes your pain
What’s your favorite music? Listen, and you may hear a Stevie Wonder tune, a James Taylor folk song, or a classical composition throughout the hallway of Legacy Emanuel’s Trauma Recovery and Acute Care Unit (TRACU). Jee Yoon, M.T.-B.C, is a clinical music therapist who volunteers one day a week to bring music to some of the medical center’s sickest patients.
The American Music Therapy Association describes music therapy as the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions for improved mental and physical health. Yoon is a board-certified and state licensed music therapist who has completed an accredited music therapy degree at Marylhurst University and a clinical internship at the Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy at Mount Sinai Health Systems in New York City, NY.
Music therapy is used in health care settings to help patients manage and modulate their experiences in the hospital, from reducing pain perception, or to help regulate a heart rate, lower blood pressure, as well as reduce anxiety. Studies have shown it benefits burn and cancer patients and even women giving birth. Some surgeons have asked for a clinical music therapist in the operating room.
“I’ve worked with patients and together we’ve created music through songwriting, singing, playing instruments and listening to music,” said Yoon. “As a music therapist, I choose specific clinical music therapy interventions to meet and improve the bio-psycho-social needs of the client and I’ve helped people with a variety of conditions, like depression, dementia and pain management.”
Deb Hamilton, R.N., a TRACU nurse educator says they’re pleased to have Jee. “We lower the lights on the unit and listen,” said Hamilton. “Her music brings peace, joy and tranquility to many of our very ill patients. We find ourselves lowering our voices while Jee is singing or playing one of her many instruments.”
Research supports the use of music for physical and emotional trauma. During World War I and II, community musicians visited Veterans hospitals. Doctors and nurses noticed how patients responded and soon, musicians were hired on staff. Eventually a more formalized music therapy college curriculums developed in colleges and universities that included courses in psychology and medicine.
Yoon rotates her instruments between the piano and guitar and sings when she finds it clinically appropriate. She hopes to bring more awareness to using and designing music therapy as part of a pain management treatment plan for patients in hospitals, rehabilitation treatment centers, outpatients facilities and other settings.
For more information: Vicki Guinn, Legacy Emanuel Public Relations, 503-413-2939, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo and video: Vicki Guinn
Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine At Beth Israel Medical Center http://www.louisarmstrongfoundation.org/programs-bethisrael.php
American Music Therapy Association https://www.musictherapy.org/about/quotes/