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Music Therapist Eva Hamer (vegan): The Compelling Health Benefits of Music Therapy, Part 2 of 2

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Today, we will continue to explore how music therapy can contribute to our wellness and find out how the brain reacts to music. “We talk about music kind of existing globally in the brain. Whatever is still functioning in someone with dementia can often be stimulated by music. So I worked with a lot of patients who weren’t able to speak anymore, weren’t able to walk, weren’t able to do really much of anything, but often those same people were still able to sing with me, and able to come out of their shells and interact through music.”

“People with speech impairments are helped immensely by music therapy. There’s an intervention called melodic intonation therapy, and it’s done by both music therapists and speech therapists, and it’s this very regimented way to teach people to speak again when they’ve lost the ability to speak through something like brain damage.”

A drum circle involves a group of people playing drums in a circle or semi-circle, with the participants expressing themselves by drumming a rhythm. It can serve as one form of music therapy. “I think the really cool thing about drum circles is that participants and the audience are often the same. People who participate are the people who are playing music, and the people who are playing are the ones that the benefit is for often. And I think that it can be a huge mood booster; it can be a way to interact with others; it can be a way to fight social isolation, and to improve group cohesion of the group that’s participating in the drum circle.”

We ended our interview by asking Ms. Hamer about how her experiences as a music therapist have helped in her current career as an animal-people rights activist. “I really like to apply the principles of music therapy to my activism, to think about animal rights activists who are experiencing some really difficult things, and are experiencing quite a bit of emotional trauma, when we think about animals dying every day. And so I love to use music with activists to help their emotional resilience, and their group cohesion, and their feelings of empowerment, and closeness to each other.”
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