By Julie Drake
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | Institute of Health offers the best definition of the two. Alternative medicine are practices in place of care and medicine provided by a medical doctor. Complementary medicine is treatment that is used together with standard MD recommended medicine. While I have heard many shocking anecdotes about alternative medicine working, I have to base my own opinions in good solid peer reviews, scholarly research and would not use alternative medicine myself. However, I am a big advocate for complementary medicine. Two types that I encourage people to explore are music and massage.
There are many wonderful articles, research findings and observations showing that the use of music can reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain sobriety, foster feelings of overall wellbeing, reduce stress and help with mental focus. These are mental health related. Music can also impact physical health by lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, restore rhythmic respirations, improve sleep and increase workout endurance. There is a wealth of knowledge about differing beats, tempos, styles and their reported effects. Just “google” music therapy.
My father would always request the World War II song, “Don’t Fence Me In” or the Eddy Arnold cowboy classic “Cool Water.” Sometimes I need a listen to Def Leppard, Dierks Bentley or Jim Brickman. We all have different types and styles we are attracted to. Playing a musical instrument has even more positive effects on health and wellbeing. If you play an instrument—thank your music teacher!
If you are planning to have surgery, bring along your portable music to help you in the recovery days. When working with hospital patients I always encouraged the use of music to help with pain, anxiety and uncertainty when patients began to struggle after a surgery such as a total joint replacement. Of course, I also encouraged them to discuss proper medication with their doctor and nurse. Music is a complement to the medicine and is usually well liked and effective.
It is my hope that more and more therapists, doctors and nurses will remember this powerful tool for improving mental and physical health and will encourage and recommend it.
Next week I will tell about the power of touch, specifically massage.
Julie Drake is the Public Health Director for Rio Blanco County.