Doctors prescribe musical medicine at Penn State Hershey - abc27 WHTM

Doctors prescribe musical medicine at Penn State Hershey

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Inside the waiting room of Penn State Hershey Medical Center, the atmosphere can be stressful.

"Yesterday I was telling my husband, 'I wish the anesthesiologist would give me something to sleep, too,' " said Agnes Dzake, on edge waiting for her husband to get out of surgery until live music filled the air.

"It immediately ministered to me and calmed me, and it was reassuring so I loved it," Dzake said.

Which is exactly the point. The live music is part of Penn State Hershey's "Center Stage" program, composed by Claire de Boer.

"Patients and family members should have live music and art. It's a lovely feeling in a difficult time," de Boer said.

Music not only helps to soothe those in the waiting rooms, music therapy is used as medicine for patients.

"Using all those ways that we relate to music as a means to working toward patients' treatment goals," said Jan Stouffer, a music therapist.

Most notably, the music helps patients get in tune with their emotions. Patients like Alex Pennypacker, a 12-year-old lymphoma patient.

Inspired by his favorite band, Motley Crue, Pennypacker is a drummer. He said laying down his beats helps him beat his disease.

"If I'm in pain and we start playing, it always makes me feel better and pain goes away and I'm just happier and it makes me feel a whole lot better," Pennypacker said.


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