The lyrics “Holddd myyy handdd…” echoed loudly bouncing off the four walls of the hospital room. There we were two people, at the same place and time, but under incredibly different circumstances. I looked on, as I strummed my guitar, at the face of an adorning wife encouraging her loving husband of many years to continue our song together. This courageous man, husband, and father with gentle eyes had lost his words…… literally. Yet somehow he was able to sing this song by Hootie and the Blowfish. After suffering from a stroke that left him unable to speak, he was sent on a path of hardship, struggle, rehabilitation, and recovery.

In my 9 months working in the brain injury and stroke units at a neurorehab in Boston, Massachusetts, I witnessed how Neurologic Music Therapy can and will lead patients from a traumatizing brain injury to an amazing recovery. I have experienced, along with many patients and families, how music’s power and universality can functionally change people’s lives. In this patient’s case, it was intensive Neurologic Music Therapy that helped to allow him to not only sing familiar songs, but speak common phrases to his family once again.

Neurologic Music Therapy is built upon a cutting edge scientific model of how music activates the brain’s centers of attention, memory, language, and motor systems. Those affected by neurologic disease or injury can recover function with the assistance this clinical field that was founded in 2002. Based upon the brain science of music, and through individualized Neurologic Music Therapy interventions, music becomes the vehicle to elicit functional change by accessing and optimizing function in these brain centers. The use of something so near and dear to all of our hearts can “rewire” an injured brain to recover important functions.  No musical knowledge or experience is needed for clinical success in Neurologic Music Therapy.

“Holddd myyy handdd…” those words still ring in my memory and heart. Imagine one day living your life as normal with a job and family. You’re intelligent, kind, and successful. And then, in an instant, you wake up in a hospital bed, unable to speak. My patient, with the help of Neurologic Music Therapy in the months that followed, was able to regain his speech enough to not only sing those same lyrics to his son, but speak to him thousands of miles away, to show that he was stronger than his injury ever could be.

In the following weeks, we will attempt to explain how 97% of human brains respond when engaged in music; explain our interventions and why they work; as well as discuss how we can use this scientific knowledge to help as many people as possible, through the power of Neurologic Music Therapy.

You might be asking, “If NMT shows such dramatic results, why don’t more people know about it?” The answer? I. don’t. know. This is our attempt to change that. #musicitsscience #neurologicmusictherapy

“A brain that engages is music is changed by engaging in music.” – Michael Thaut, Director, Center for Biomedical Research in Music

Written by: Steph Mathioudakis, MedRhythms Blogger