If you listen carefully, you may hear the sound of music coming from the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster every first and third Monday of the month. The Centre is offering free Music Wellness classes to cancer patients and their caregivers.
Music has increasingly been associated with healing qualities. The soothing power of music has been well-established. Studies show that sheer musical power can offer physical and spiritual healing through relaxation, stress and anxiety reduction, lowering blood pressure and helping to manage chronic pain.
“Studies indicate that using music interventions such as the kind we use in Music Wellness class can help to increase social and communications skills, increase self-control/self-expression, feelings of self-worth and help to achieve feelings of general wellness and normalcy,” said class facilitator Kristen Bouwman, MT-BC. “We look at music therapy as a powerful tool in the healing process.”
Bouwman explains that she follows the Music for Wellness circuit of interventions from “Unkefer’s Taxonomy of Music Therapy in Mental Health,” as a guideline for the class that includes Music Performing; Music Psychotherapy; Music and Movement; Music combined with Expressive Arts, Recreational Music and Music and Relaxation. These interventions are rotated and each class uses a different guideline.
“With every group there is an opportunity to learn, smile and maybe even have some fun,” said Bouwman. “For instance, during a recent class using a Music Performing drum circle, I told participants that we were going to make a music ‘soup’. I was the base of the soup, playing the main beat with my drum. Participants each played an instrument, something that made the soup recipe interesting, adding the ‘noodles’, ‘barley’, ‘vegetables’, etc. These parts of the soup are important for taste and texture.”
“When we embrace new concepts and keep an open mind; it can result in numerous individual benefits,” Bouwman said. “Music therapy is a creative release. As participants engage in creative, music-based interventions they aim to strengthen the way music functions in their lives.”
The resource center is a program of the Community Cancer Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of cancer care available in Northwest Indiana and the South Chicago Suburbs. Since first opening its doors in 2003, The Cancer Resource Centre has offered all of its services free of charge to all who enter: including those receiving care from medical treatment facilities other than the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. The Centre is funded from donations and grants, in-kind donations and volunteer support.
Individuals may check out books, view videotapes and other educational material within the library or conduct internet searches to obtain research concerning diagnosis, treatment and general information. Groups gather to share experiences in social and professionally-led groups for support. Classes and programs, such as Music Wellness, are offered to help individuals connect in their experiences and to promote emotional well-being.
The Cancer Resource Centre is located at 926 Ridge Road in Munster. For more information on the mind-body-spirit programs and a complete listing of upcoming classes and events, visit our web site at www.cancerresourcecentre.com or call 219-836-3349.