New music therapy program helps beat the battle against cancer

Certified Music Therapist Nicole Ribet transformed the lobby of Singing River Health System's regional cancer center into a concert hall Tuesday to launch a new music therapy program at the facility. (Photo source: WLOX)
Certified Music Therapist Nicole Ribet transformed the lobby of Singing River Health System's regional cancer center into a concert hall Tuesday to launch a new music therapy program at the facility. (Photo source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's said that music can soothe the soul. Singing River Health System has launched a new music therapy program in hopes promoting healing at its regional cancer center in Jackson County. Some cancer patients are already in harmony with the program.

Tuesday, the lobby of the Singing River Health System's regional cancer center was transformed into a concert hall. Certified music therapist Nicole Ribet sang hymns as patients and employees joined in.

"Music therapy is not recorded music. We are trained musicians and we use live instruments to help patients be in the moment," Ribet said.

Ribet also directed an interactive drum circle that was a big hit. This therapist was hired by the health system to use her instruments and methods to help cancer patients reduce stress and much more.

"It helps with nausea, pain management, anxiety, as well as spiritual aspects if they are dealing with the depression side of it, or just having the strength and the fight to go on," said Ribet.

This special therapy is being funded through a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project Grant that the community voted on and the Health System won.

"We had to go out and ask the community to vote online for us. We competed with 60 other hospitals across the country, and we are one of 13 that got the community support, and that was the key was you needed to have the community support behind you," Health System official Maggie Clarkson said.

The grant will fund the program for one year. But the hope is by changing the tune up a bit, this will make a major difference in the more than 11,000 patients in cancer care.

Cancer Survivor Cynthia Hunt said the program sounds nice to her.

"It just helps you take your mind off the battle that you are going through. Cancer is a battle," Hunt said.

Hopefully, the music will make the battle a little easier to fight. Singing River Health System is the first hospital in the state to have a music therapy program in a hospital setting.

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