By Nancy Pitkin
A program by Nancy Pitkin called Musical Hand Therapy is a 5-step program designed for either a one-on-one activity or a larger group. It uses humming as a tool to soothe and calm the body and spirit, combined with breathing, stretching, and aromatherapy.
In the past several years, I have learned a lot about how music can boost the immune system and improve health. I wanted to focus not only on familiar music, but music that I compose, and have had success in with my work with seniors.
Yoga has become so popular over the past several years, and at one time people thought it was too “out of the box.” Now people are looking for alternative therapies and programs like MHT. Sound healing, which is talked about in Musical Hand Therapy, has even been mentioned in Oprah magazine.
Sound Healing Benefits
The vibrations from sound healing can reduce stress and bring our bodies back into a balanced, natural state called homeostasis. This can be done with instruments, vocal toning, or tuning forks. Below are a few of the health benefits from sound therapy.
- Lowers blood pressure & heart rate
- Decreases stress hormones
- Increases natural opiates & blood flow
- Boosts immune system
Who Can Benefit from Musical Hand Therapy?
I really enjoy doing the Musical Hand Therapy seniors, but with others, too. I worked with a Navy Veteran who was wounded in Iraq. I did some sound healing and musical hand therapy at a Veteran’s event for Warrior 360 in South Carolina. The veteran, Michael Heaton, shared, “I felt great afterwards…so relieved, felt uplifted…stuff comes off of you!”.
Younger generations can also benefit from this program. The young people at the coffee shop up the street from me are interested in me doing it there. I believe it is important to have tools like Musical Hand Therapy these days, because there is so much stress out in the world. It helps to be able to know how to achieve peace and calm, and reduce stress so that it doesn’t affect your health.
What I like about the Musical Hand Therapy program is that it can benefit not only the participants, but the person doing it as well. It is an easy 5 step program that can be used for a one-on-one activity or with a group. You can also even do musical hand therapy on yourself, and at any time of the day.
Here is a short 1 minute clip of the Musical Hand Therapy program.
Musical Hand Therapy For Wellness & Health
Last month, I presented for a wellness event called “Find Your Happiness Event” at an indepedent living community. I had many folks waiting on their turn. They were very enthusiastic about it! Tracey Guthrie, Wellness Director at Abbotswood at Irving Park, said the residents love the Musical Hand Therapy during their event.
I currently run a Sound Therapy Program at a Dementia Care community here in Greensboro, NC. The program has been very successful, and I use the Musical Hand Therapy often.
I feel the program could be really beneficial for Wellness Directors who are not musicians, but who want to bring therapeutic sound into their programs. Also, many find it hard to program for dementia patients. The MTH program is ideal for that community. As well presenting to older adults, I have done this program for other wellness programs at corporations and for hospice, and it can be enjoyed by people of any age.
Brenda Dickerson, a Recreation Therapist from California, also had a great experience with the Musical Hand Therapy (MHT) program and I wanted to share her great feedback.
“I just did your MHT CD with my first client. I usually do one on one recreational therapy with a client with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. He is usually pretty unresponsive. He loved the CD so much he had his eyes open, he was engaging in conversation with me, he was smiling and we actually laughed, which just never happens with him. The client was listening to the humming, and he was trying to sing some of the words. I think it is just so quiet and melodic and relaxing. I am going to try it with all my clients this week, and even with my groups. I asked him if he wanted to do it next week and he said “Yes!” I just wanted to say thank you so much. It was very meaningful.”
History Behind Musical Hand Therapy
All of my music for Older Adults has been inspired by the work I have done in retirement communities throughout the years. When I was a musician in Nashville, TN many years ago, pursuing as career as a songwriter, I began to play in those communities. I then became interested in recording music that my father enjoyed! Those songs became my first Old Time Favorites CD! It was not originally a sing along CD, but I was asked to put lyrics to it in a book after that, and from then on I began to sell it. From there the music continued! I have always included songs that were requested frequently, or favorites of my dad’s, who always had a list of songs for me! He has always been my inspiration.
My mother inspired me because she made sure I had a musical experience growing up. I sang in church choirs and took piano lessons. I went to school and became a music teacher. When my mother was little her family would gather around the piano and sing together. My grandfather played ragtime music. She wanted me to have music training, as music had been an important part of her life. Singing around the piano was such a part of family life many years ago. I want to rekindle positive memories for Older Adults through my music!
Add Nancy Pitkin’s Musical Hand Therapy to your program today! Also you can check out her musical CD’s, sing-alongs, DVD’s and more.
To learn more about Nancy Pitkin and her program, visit her website at www.nancypitkin.com.