University Medical Center, Center for Contemplative Studies collaborate on research regarding alternative therapies
At the University, various departments are investigating the use of alternative therapies. Alternative therapies are treatments that are either used instead of or in conjunction with medical treatments, such as acupuncture, yoga and meditation.
Dr. Ina Stephens, an associate professor of pediatrics and medical education and a registered yoga instructor, is in the midst of conducting research that investigates the effects of prenatal yoga therapy on high-risk pregnant mothers, which has never been done in the United States.
In fact, there have only been about three studies done in this field and all of them were done in India. The studies conducted in India showed that prenatal yoga was beneficial in helping with postpartum depression, stress, gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes.
It’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t feel a strong connection to music. Even if you can’t carry a tune or play an instrument, you can probably reel off a list of songs that evoke happy memories and raise your spirits. Surgeons have long played their favorite music to relieve stress in the operating room, and extending music to patients has been linked to improved surgical outcomes. In the past few decades, music therapy has played an increasing role in all facets of healing.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is a burgeoning field. People who become certified music therapists are usually accomplished musicians who have deep knowledge of how music can evoke emotional responses to relax or stimulate people or help them heal. They combine this knowledge with their familiarity with a wide variety of musical styles to find the specific kind that can get you through a challenging physical rehab session or guide you into meditation. And they can find that music in your favorite genre, be it electropop or grand opera.
Holly Chartrand, a music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, first trained as a vocalist. She decided to become a music therapist when she realized that she could use music to support others just as it had supported her throughout her life. “The favorite part of my job is seeing how big an impact music can have on someone who isn’t feeling well,” she says.