How Music Therapy Can Compliment Treatment for Children with Cancer

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Music is a part of our everyday lives. Ritualistically, music has touched us throughout the history of humanity to celebrate life events and bond together as people. Even singing together on a long car ride can become a family tradition that creates comforting memories that return to us throughout our lifetime. Rhythm and playing musical instruments even without formal instruction brings a sense of empowerment and humanity to us all. Having our children play musical instruments recreationally is a great outlet for our natural musical instincts. Adding instrumental instruction and regular playing plays gives a sense of ownership to a child’s expression as well as enriches their developing mind and sense of confidence.

When looking at alternative cancer healing treatments there are effective and active arts based treatments that especially appeal to children’s creativity and imagination. They have also proven very effective to quell boredom and the monotony of extended hospital stays. Music Therapy is an effective supplementary treatment for children with cancer and most hospitals offer integrated music therapy individually, in groups with other ailing children and family sessions.

As cancer treatments cause¬† pain and discomfort,the effect pain has on the human spirit and the feeling of control over ones body and mind can be an added obstacle in recovery. The goal of music therapy is to relieve pain and improve coping skills with treatments as well as improve a sense of self and control through creativity and connecting to feelings through musical expression. A consultation with a licensed music therapist in correspondence with your clinician can help you to set up a program to benefit your child’s healing.

Children, and especially teens,  that suffer from many of the developmental after effects of cancer treatment like ADHD, facing the stress of future infertility, growth hormone disorders or physical limitations, for example, successfully find the outlet of music as a way to bond and connect with their peers. As well as the personal satisfaction that comes with reaching out to the world through creativity and performance.

Consider bringing a little music into your family’s healing routine. Unusual portable instruments like a kalimba, an electronic portable keyboard or an electronic app can be an active form of musical expression. Speak to your treatment facility about options for music therapy and follow your own inspiration! Experiment with what your child responds to…be it world beats, jazz, classical, rock ‘n’ roll or pop. Set specific music time aside for the family and let the music act as bonding time for healing and expression.

Please reference
Related Links
American Music Therapy Association
http://www.musictherapy.org/

Certification Board for Music Therapists
http://www.cbmt.org/

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