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Power of Touch: What We Learned During the Event

On February 17, Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services welcomed music therapist Allison Setzke, MM, MT-BC, and massage therapist Donna Schiller, MPH, LMT, to Covenant Home, where they led a presentation about the power of massage and music therapies in pain management.

Allison and Donna provide therapy for patients at Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care. They focus on providing customized care that takes into account the patient’s mood, interests and condition to help alleviate pain and increase the quality of life. Their personalized care has allowed countless patients to live more comfortably during their time in hospice care.

Photo Feb 17, 9 08 19 AM (1)

The Benefits of Touch and Music Therapies

Touch and music therapy plays an incredibly important role in the care of hospice patients.

Both forms of therapy offer patients the opportunity to temporarily reduce pain, tension, anxiety and stress. Allison explained that music therapy even has the potential to reduce the need for medication and temporarily relieve shortness of breath.

The reduction of pain and anxiety help patients increase their quality of life, and in more ways than just the obvious. Because pain can often cause a person to become socially isolated, the reduction of discomfort can help individuals be less socially isolated. These therapies also help address issues such as depression or fear, allowing for patients to experience more joy in their lives.

Photo Feb 17, 9 26 46 AM (1)

Demonstrating the Power of Touch and Music Therapy

At the end of the event, Allison and Donna led the group through two exercises to help bring home the power of touch and music therapies.

Donna had attendees partner up to take part in a touch exercise that simply involved one partner gently swaying from side to side while holding the shoulders of their seated partner. This exercise was to show how even gentle touch, especially that which reminds a patient that they are in a safe pace, can be a great way to reduce anxiety.

Allison then impressed the group with her beautiful voice (Allison had planned to be an Opera singer before becoming a music therapist). Starting out with just a hum, she slowly began to sing. The experience of being sung to was incredibly engaging, personal and calming for those in attendance. While recorded music can at some times provide a certain amount of therapy, Allison’s singing demonstrated just how powerful a live musical performance can be.

Thank you to Allison, Donna and Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care for sharing their knowledge with us.

If you are interested in attending a future presentation held by Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services, please visit our Events page to learn more about our upcoming events.

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