Healthy Living: Music therapy
Music can be therapeutic. It's why Roswell Park Cancer Institute brings volunteer musicians to its lobby every day. Geoff Redick reports.
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"I had two good friends that died of cancer," said Susan Siuta, a harpist.
"There was a woman who was in a wheelchair, and she wheeled over from across the lobby. She looked at me and said, 'It's been the best five minutes of my week.' You know, you can't script a moment like that," said Mark DiGiampaolo, a pianist.
Music is therapeutic. It's why Roswell Park Cancer Institute brings volunteer musicians to its lobby every day, trying to make patient life a little easier, even at times when it's hardest.
"They hear the harp, or they hear the piano. And for a minute, they've gone someplace else," said DiGiampaolo.
"They're in that space, they're in that moment," explained Dr. Joni Milgram-Luterman, SUNY Fredonia.
It's a moment Dr. Joni Milgram-Luterman is familiar with. She's spent decades as a music therapist in Canada and Western New York. She now chairs the music therapy program at SUNY Fredonia.
"The musicians that come into Roswell Park, that is very helpful to people. But imagine taking that, and using the power of that in a therapeutic setting," said Dr. Milgram-Luterman.
Dr. Milgram-Luterman uses music to aid her patients' cognitive process, everything from social interaction to scientific brain function.
"Sometimes people can express their feelings in the music environment, that they can't elsewhere," said Dr. Milgram-Luterman.
Services are available in Western New York, similar to seeing a psychologist. Also available is a type of music physical therapy, as well as hospice and child care. But the purest perspective comes from a recovering cancer patient.
"You don't feel sick anymore. You may be, but you know that there's more to life than your sickness, and you end up focusing on what's good about things," said John-Michael Battaglia, a Roswell patient.