Orthez: art therapy in palliative care, when the violin arouses escape

Orthez: art therapy in palliative care, when the violin arouses escape

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Under the blows of 10 o’clock this morning…

At 10 a.m. on this August morning, a new art therapy session begins. A senior has accepted the idea that his toilet takes place to music, to the sound of the melody of a violin, played live by a trainee who is not quite like the others. Noémie is 22 years old, she is currently pursuing her fourth year of medicine while holding the prestigious diploma in musical studies from the Conservatoire de Pau.

Haunting melodies

The music is launched, then begins a ballet of a new kind. “I don’t even have the strength to speak anymore,” whispers the patient, who is reputed to be talkative. Silence is made… to leave room only for spellbinding melodies. Between the Hungarian dances of Brahms, the soundtrack of Schindler’s list and the creations of Bach, the two caregivers repeat the usual gestures of the toilet: rinsing the face, rubbing the back, massaging the feet. All of this, showing a subtle delicacy that seems to resonate with the appeasement caused by the gentle vibrations of the violin.

Between the patient and the young violinist located just opposite, a bond seems to be created by the gaze. As a conductor, he performs a few pendulum movements with his hands as if to set the rhythm. As an attentive musician, she engages in a more lively theme when she realizes that tears are beginning to flow down the cheeks of her vis-à-vis, overcome by emotion.

“It brought back memories for me, he confides, after fifteen minutes of private concert. You feel a lot of things, it’s hard to express but I had a great feeling of relaxation and the impression of a spiritual void. Appeasement is one of the first sensations felt by patients. A roommate who has cancer says: “The metastases have reached my leg, so washing and transfers are very painful for me. With the music, I didn’t hurt at all, I felt elsewhere, for a moment. »

music for pain

For Christine Coste, director of the palliative care service at Orthez, the presence of a violinist in her service was too good an opportunity not to try this type of new experience. “I knew Noémie’s talent because she had already played in an orchestra that I direct. When I heard that she was coming for an internship here, I wanted to take advantage of her presence to experience art therapy sessions in the department because I trained in integrative medicine through a DU ( university degree, editor’s note) in Paris last year. We were shown cello art therapy videos and I thought I had to put that in place in Orthez! »

In France, the history of art therapy has been going on for nearly ten years. The first studies related to the effects of music on patients hospitalized in palliative care date back to 2012. They were extended by Doctor Jean-Marie Gomas at the CHU Sainte-Périne in Paris, in collaboration with the violinist Claire Oppert.

Music to reduce pain thus found a scientific justification: The results on more than one hundred dressings, with a sheet compared with and without music, “showed a reduction in pain ranging from 10% to 50% during a treatment” Dressing Schubert “as well as a clear muscular relaxation, a manifest alleviation of the patient’s anxiety and, fundamentally, a massive beneficial impact on the caregivers contributing to better care”, related the doctor in a 2017 article.

Caregivers satisfied

In the premises of the Cité Fébus hospital, the first notes sounded on July 25th. If they have calmed the patients, they have also done good for the caregivers. “It also relaxes us, continues Charlène, caregiver. It provokes a lot of emotion, it’s very pleasant. »

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