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Hospital music program helps soothe patients' "heavy hearts"

It's not uncommon for hospitals to offer music-based services to patients and visitors. But the music program at Stanford Hospital & Clinics - featuring such things as musician bedside visits, ambient music on the units, portable CD players for patient use, and concerts by both professional musicians and caregivers like the neuroscientist-by-day-rock-star-by-night Hypertonics - is particularly robust. A recent Palo Alto Online News article outlined the hospital's various offerings and discussed its effect on patients:

...Joseph Mollick, a staff physician in the Cancer Center, says in an interview that he especially likes the harp music played by Barbary Grant in the areas where patients get chemotherapy. When she begins to play, people turn the TVs down and everything gets hushed. "Instinctively they know that this is really special. It really does transform the small suites," he says.

When asked about his beliefs on whether music can be healing, Mollick says: "There have been all sorts of efforts for people with life-threatening illnesses, to have them interact with art... All that is meant to release dopamine into people's brains and help them feel warmer and good about something."

He continues, "It's an important part of the Cancer Center, trying to overcome the inherent stress... anything we can do to minimize the heavy heart that people have when they walk in here."

Previously: Stanford neurologists rock out as The Hypertonics
Photo by Lucas Jans

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