Music is a bridge between the mind and body, and has unique abilities to bring holistic healing to the body, mind, and soul of those living with MS. Betsy Hartman, MT-BC, outlines how and why music therapy is successfully utilized as part of an interdisciplinary approach to address therapeutic goals, improve quality of life, and train the mind to help heal itself. Discover resources and support for this non-pharmacological healing therapy that can be accessed by those with MS AND their loved ones.
My guest today is joining me from Seattle. Betsy Hartman is a board-certified music therapist with additional certifications in neurologic music therapy and guided imagery and music. She is the Director and Founder of PNW Music Therapy. Betsy is dedicated to bringing the healing benefits of music to others, and partnered in 2015 with Swedish Medical Group (and its Multiple Sclerosis Center) to develop and lead its flagship music therapy program. She’s also partnered with Bristol Meyers Squibb and American Music Therapy Association to help create MS in Harmony.
- What Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is and what its typical effects are.
- Music’s superpowers when it comes to addressing these effects of MS.
- Why music is so effective in treating the whole person.
- What a therapeutic approach utilizing music therapy looks like.
- Involvement in music therapy activities by those with MS AND their loved ones.
- With chronic conditions like MS that haven’t been outright cured, addressing the underlying science of the medical condition only goes so far in making the person whole. Music therapy is an established health profession that utilizes the power of music to address not ONLY the body, but also the mind and soul – the whole person.
- Ways music therapy can bring healing mentally and emotionally to those with MS.
- At Swedish MS Center, “Our experts are recognized for compassionate care that includes the latest medical treatments but also addresses the emotional and physical needs of patients.”
- Research that Betsy finds especially exciting.
- The relevance of this type of music therapy – and the body’s physiological response to music – in other contexts, including stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Parkinson’s Disease.
- Betsy’s work was featured in a short film by Novartis called “The power of music as therapy in MS”. Novartis is a global healthcare company based in Switzerland that provides solutions to address the evolving needs of patients worldwide.
- Betsy partnered with Bristol Myers Squibb and American Music Therapy Association to help create MS in Harmony, a friendly, supportive, informative space where you can discover music’s potential impact on body, mind, and soul.
- Betsy is the Director and Founder of PNW Music Therapy.
- Betsy partnered with Swedish Medical Group (and its Multiple Sclerosis Center) to develop and lead its flagship music therapy program.
- Other resources: Betsy recommends resources offered by American Music Therapy Association
- If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll also enjoy:
- Ep. 4: Music Rewires the Brain, with Maegan Morrow (Gabby Giffords’ music therapist)
- Ep. 39: Parkinson’s Disease Interventions with Music; “Music provides structure for movement.” Marion Haase, M.M.
- Ep. 54: What happens when an entrepreneur combines music, health, and technology? With Point Motion Founder & CEO Kevin Clark
- Ep. 20: Music Heals the Soul, with Music for the Soul founder & Dove Award winning songwriter Steve Siler
- Ep. 77: Music interventions in speech development & disorders, with Laura Moorer, M.A., CCC-SLP
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Betsy says: As you can imagine, music has become even more necessary in our daily lives since 2020 – for enjoyment, comfort, relaxation, and connection. In my family (my husband, 3 year old and 11 month) we’ve used music to create dance playlists (I’ve listened to the song, “ I Like to Move It Move It” more times than I care to count!) and we’ve used music to help remind us to breathe and relax our bodies (a hard skill for a 3 year old!). But the music that has enhanced my life the most this past year is simply playing my harp for me. I often play for others, but this year, whenever I could find time, I started playing for myself a bit more and allows myself to play whatever felt right to me in that moment. I would sit down and play, reminding myself to let the music paint a picture of peace in my mind.
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