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Music Therapy May Help Ease Pain
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NPR

NPR, June 29, 2006
Posted: July 3rd, 2012

Approaching death can be a long descent into pain and fear. [For some,] the misery is so profound that little helps. Alternative medicine is increasingly accepted as part of palliative care and some studies show music is one method to ease pain and stress at the end of life. One of these methods includes live harp music, played at the bedside by a certified music practitioner. Carol Joy Loeb, a former opera singer, is a certified music practitioner and registered nurse. When she arrives at a patient's bedside, she's prepared to alleviate misery. "I use the music to bring a calmness to them," Loeb says. "It helps with pain and agitation. And in the case of those who are actively dying, it helps them to go peacefully." She even uses the music to open communication between family members at the end of a person's life. Last year, she worked with a dying woman on Hospice care. "This was a woman in congestive heart failure, she was in acute distress," Loeb says. Just before she arrived, the patient had received a dose of morphine but didn't get the necessary relief. When Loeb started playing, the dying woman began to relax. "Within 10 minutes her respirations were almost not there," Loeb recalls. "Her daughter was in the kitchen with the Hospice chaplain. And she came in and took her mother's hand and she said, 'Mama, it's okay to go, go to God. Take the hand of God and go to God.' And within one minute, she was gone."

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