Tapping into Music as Therapy for Illness and Trauma

Jen Cueva avatar

by Jen Cueva |

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If you listen to music, you may already know that it affects our mood. I listen to music almost daily. Playing music on Spotify is simple, and I appreciate that I can choose a genre or mood. For example, I like to listen to upbeat music when I am cleaning and doing simple chores around the house. And “coffee house” music helps me when I am trying to focus.

Did you know that music can help relieve stress and aid with the healing of chronic illnesses?

Meanwhile, as I write this, I am reminiscing with some ’90s top hits. Music tends to take me away from reality. By offering this break, it is beneficial to my overall health. Some music may provide a nostalgic feeling, taking me back to years ago. On the other hand, certain songs crush me. Have you ever listened to a song that breaks down your walls? This can be beneficial because it encourages the release of anxiety, tension, and worry.

Living with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and dealing with its symptoms, along with the side effects of medication, can be challenging, even more so with my coexisting illnesses. Life can be hectic, and music serves as an escape on some days.

How I have benefited from music therapy after trauma.

Along my PH journey, I have experienced my share of hospitalizations. I’ve had so many that I lost count. Putting my family through a whirlwind of emotions makes me remorseful. More than once, I was unresponsive and did not recognize my family.

I vaguely recall the first time this happened. My husband was at my bedside, playing our song “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams. As he held his phone that played this song to my ear, I stirred a bit. The next morning, I was awake and oriented somewhat to my family. Thankfully, my family helped to orientate me to them and my surroundings.

I went through a similar hospitalization about two and a half years ago, but it was even more traumatic. Thinking back, my mind is still clouded. But certain parts of this grim hospitalization come back to me. It’s strange when I hear someone say something or hear a song that takes me back to that traumatic place. At times, this evokes a smile, but more often, tears. Often I experience emotions that I cannot explain — music will do that.

Music therapy in ancient times.

Studies show that music therapy helps patients with a variety of conditions. It has been recognized as therapeutic since ancient times. Ancient physicians used vibrations to help with digestion, mental issues, and to induce sleep. This is interesting, right?

Today, many hospitals, particularly children’s hospitals, use music therapy for their patients. Texas Children’s Hospital, for example, has a department devoted to music therapy. I am optimistic that more hospitals will follow the lead, as music has been beneficial in my healing and during my most traumatic times.

Writing about my traumatic experiences could be another separate column. Currently, in such turbulent times, I have found that I turn to music even more. Maybe it helps to unplug from the TV and the news. Whatever it may be, music can be therapeutic.

Have you used music therapy to help deal with PH or life in general? Please share in the comments below.


Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Halsey Blocher avatar

Halsey Blocher

Jen, this is beautiful! Music is such a powerful thing! I listen to music that uplifts me nearly every day.

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Thank you, Halsey. Your kind words of support always make my day. This means more than you know, coming from an amazing writer herself. <3

Manny Cueva avatar

Manny Cueva

You always seem to delve so deep into feelings we all have but can’t seem to put into words . Amazing job

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Thanks, Boo, I am always grateful for your support. <3


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