I read the most interesting article on a therapy that uses music to help aid dying patients in their comfort and peace during their final days. It was more so interesting to me because I actually have a family member who is currently dying of cancer. I saw him last week and felt helpless for words or actions to comfort him. It’s hard to know what you can do for people who are truly living out their last moments here on earth, but this kind of therapy helps bring the closure and peace to the family of the dying as well as to the dying themselves by playing peaceful, rhythmic, soothing music for them.
Thanatology has actually been around for years, and it’s based on the Greek root word for death. It uses music in various ways, usually a harp because the harp is portable and has low, soothing sounds that help relax people, to help comfort people and even help guide them through any pain they may still be feeling in their last moments. If there is a thanatologist on staff at hospitals where patients are terminal, the service is usually performed at no cost to the patient or their family, which is excellent, especially when the families and the people themselves are dealing with so much to begin with, coming to terms with impending cessation of life.
Music has long shown to be therapeutic to the human race, both in end of life situations, and just as a daily therapy for unwinding, getting frustrations out, and soothing the ears, heart and mind at the end of a long day. When I have a lot of work to do, I always have to put on a specific type of classical music. The tempo can’t be too upbeat, and not too slow, but I have it figured out so that I know which CD’s will make me the most productive without overwhelming me by their sounds, but rather complementing my concentration.
Most people have a love for music. It is something that we collect, that we listen to on an almost daily basis, that we discuss, we adore, and that we also feel defines as a person with individual tastes and unique personalities. It is only suiting that music is also used to help relieve pain and suffering and help bring peace to those who are in their last moments. Many staff at hospitals feel that thanatologists help dying patients more than any drug could ever help.