Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is set to harness the power of music into its healthcare services soon with the Rehabilitation Department set to introduce special Music Therapy programmes for its patients.
HMC and Qatar Music Academy (QMA) are organising a week-long specialist training workshop to promote the concept of ‘Music Therapy’ in Qatar.
“We are looking to provide professional music therapy in the near future, as part of a comprehensive set of allied health services for the benefit of our patients. It will benefit at least three fourth of our patients in rehabilitation and can be provided as both inpatient and outpatient programmes. Hence we have organised the orientation workshop,” said Dr Wafa Al Yazeedi, Acting Chairperson of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at HMC.
Music Therapy is an established form of therapy where music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
“Music a language that can reach anybody in any physical or psychological state and this is the level we work at in music therapy. We establish contact or communication without words basically through music. Thus a therapist can reach very deep areas of the being even if one is ill. It is about how you get involved with each other and react. Thus a therapist can help create a connection between the patient and the world, helping in the healing process,” said Barbara Aeberhard, a Switzerland-based music therapist.
Studies are finding that music can have a variety of therapeutic effects. In 1995, researchers found that listening to Mozart before an IQ test boosts scores by roughly nine points. In another research, stroke victims and patients with Parkinson’s disease exposed to 30 minutes of rhythmic stimulation daily showed significant improvements in their ability to walk. A daily dose of Mozart given to chronically ill and depressed patients made them more cheerful, stable, and sociable. It has also been shown to boost the immune function in children. Premature babies exposed to lullabies in the hospital also went home earlier.
“Music therapy is one of the tools for rehabilitation in the patients who have cognitive, communicative or physical problems. At the community level, it will focus on schools under Supreme Council of Health, special education centres as Shafallah or Al Noor, apart from those with special needs in the society. At the hospital level, our patients will have music therapy rehabilitation sessions,” said Dr Al Yazeedi.
A weeklong training workshop for 20 rehabilitation and allied health service professionals and therapists from HMC, Al Noor Institute, Shafallah Centre and MADA (Qatar Assistive Technology Centre) has been organised with the aim of introducing these professionals to music therapy. “The workshop is an orientation for our staff on what music, instruments and diagnosis can be used for therapy. We have also requested for a musical therapist in the department and by next year, we plan to have the programme for the patients,” she said. However, one of the biggest challenges would be to find a music therapist who has base in the culture here,” she said.
“If we bring therapists from outside the culture, there will be isolation between patient and therapist due to cultural differences. We aim to have some one with Arabic background so that they can relate to the culture. In the long run, we also hope to have a music therapy school here, where a combination of medical and musical programme training can be given to that we have local trainees as those closer to the community can provide more,” she said.
Music as a therapy is not away from traditional Qatari culture, according to Issa Boulos, Head of Arab Music, QMA.
“In traditional societies, when we are sad or happy women sing to support each other, hence there is a support system that is attached to traditional music of Qatar. When people go through some trouble or even war, music is used traditionally as support. Music has thus manifested in various levels in the traditional community here. What we are doing does not conflict any of the traditional values as we are building on traditional musical culture,” Boulos said.
“However, we should make sure that every time we communicate music to others as a therapeutic tool, we communicate it in the way it appears in that culture. So when we get people from other culture, we should make sure that the person understands the music here, else it can lead to more problems as patients instead of connecting, can feel eliminated,” he said.
“The power of music therapy is recognised around the world, and our vision is to offer the immense benefits of the treatment to the population of Qatar. Working together with Hamad Medical Corporation and our other esteemed partners, we will strive to make this a reality,” said Dr Abdul Ghafour Al Heeti, Principal, QMA.
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