Sentara Music and Medicine Center

Music has been proven to have a healing connection to the body. Science and research reveal that the body benefits from music when it is played, easing pain, controlling anxiety and supporting recovery from a variety of conditions.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the clinical use of music—by credentialed professionals—to accomplish individualized health and therapeutic goals. This established health profession addresses the physical, emotional, and cognitive (mental) needs of individuals. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy shows it to be particularly effective in areas such as:

Overall physical rehabilitation

  • “Restarting” areas of the brain that have been damaged by disease
  • Speech, especially among stroke patients
  • Facilitating movement
  • Increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment
  • Providing emotional support for clients and their families
  • Providing an outlet for expression of feelings

Music can also have healing effects on the heart and cells. It can improve heart rates, blood vessel tones and the amount of blood flowing to the brain.

Advanced Therapy for Patients at Sentara Music and Medicine Center

The Sentara Music and Medicine Center will focus on integrating music-based therapies as a treatment tool for improving the quality of life for patients, caregivers and members of the community. We will focus on music therapy and music medicine for patients, as well as performance medicine for the medical and psychological conditions singers and performers face.

  • Music Therapy uses music as a targeted therapeutic tool to improve specific disorders. The music therapy team includes physicians, music therapists and psychologists
  • Music Medicine brings live performances to patient care settings to create a general well-being environment and enhance patient satisfaction. The music medicine team includes an artist in residence, physician-musicians and other collaborating musicians.
  • Performance Medicine is involved in preventing and treating the problems of musicians, singers and dancers that often result from disuse or repetitive stress. We will also help treat stage fright and other performance-related problems, through a team multi- disciplinary approach that includes:
    • Physicians of many disciplines
    • Physical/occupational therapy
    • Musical pedagogues (instrument professors) 
    • Vocal coaching
    • Haptonomy and Alexander Feldenkreis specialists (who focus on touch, muscle tone and posture)

Education, Research and Outreach at Sentara Music and Medicine Center

The Sentara Music and Medicine Center is committed to studying the effects of music on the body and the mind, as well as educating the community about the impact of music on human health. Our many specialists at the center will:

Engage in ongoing basic and clinical research to investigate the effects of music on the body, in health and disease.

  • Educate the medical and musical communities about the impact of music on human health and its uses on patients
  • Share the importance of music education in brain development with the general public, parents, students and teachers
  • Establish an artist-in-residence program, partnering with high-level professional musicians—locally, nationally and internationally—by inviting them to perform for our patients
  • Promote our artists-in-residence through our relationships with musical institutions across the country and around the world

Contact Us

For more information, call the Sentara Neurosciences Institute at 877-310-8713.

Sentara in the Community