"You can look at disease as a form of disharmony. And there's no organ system in the body that's not affected by sound and music and vibration." Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., “Sounds of Healing”
The following article appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Giving Thanks magazine, published by the St. Joseph's/Candler Foundations.
Healing Hits a High Note
The Music Medicine Institute, a non-profit organization affiliated with St. Joseph’s/Candler, has made a $30,000 gift to the St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations to introduce music therapy educational and clinical care services and research at the health system.
Elizabeth Jacobi, Ph.D., RMT, founder and director of the institute, says the affiliation allows the hospital to “enhance the quality of life of those with acute or chronic illness through a collaboration of music and medicine.”
“The relationship between music and medicine is both intimate and ancient,” says Dr. Jacobi, a Registered Music Therapist, researcher and former teacher, administrator and professional opera singer. “For thousands of years, healers have recognized the power of sound vibrations and music to affect the healing process.”
Today, music therapists, typically part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team, use music to address physical, psychological, cognitive, social and spiritual needs of adults and children. This includes patients with acute and chronic illness, pain, grief, physical disabilities, and neurological impairments.
Music therapists must complete an approved course of study of the American Music Therapy Association and pass a national examination to earn their Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential.
“The Music Medicine Institute has allowed us to contract Amy Adams, an MT-BC currently working with patients in our oncology unit,” says Cindy Johnson, RN, MSN, Director of Educational Services at St. Joseph’s/Candler. “We started there because the oncology staff is particularly sensitive to meeting the many different patient needs they see. Music therapy is relatively new here so Amy is not only helping our patients, she is also educating her medical coworkers about the benefits of music therapy. Music therapy is a wonderful fit with St. Joseph’s/Candler’s holistic approach to health care.”
Dr. Jacobi, whose doctorate is in clinical psychology and who trained in behavioral medicine at Harvard Medical School, conducts research in the therapeutic benefits of music and imagery.
Noting that she has herself suffered from arthritis since the age of four, Dr. Jacobi did doctoral work in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, a music-assisted process of self-discovery. It employs classical music, relaxation techniques and a trained facilitator to promote general mind, body and spiritual health; provide non-pharmacological management of pain and discomfort; moderate negative thoughts and emotions; reduce anxiety and promote relaxation; and more in those who suffer from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other afflictions.
“I have been able to overcome my own pain and suffering,” she says, adding that she no longer takes pain medication and has integrated Bonny Method techniques into her lifestyle. “Through my work, and through the Music Medicine Institute’s affiliation with St. Joseph’s/Candler, I want to bring the healing qualities of music and a positive spirit to others.”
For more information, contact the Music Medicine Foundation.