Called “the harp lady” by many in the hospital, Karen Stowe is DePaul Medical Center‘s Certified Music Practitioner. She provides harp music throughout the hospital for individual patients and in waiting areas. As a music practitioner Stowe completed a certification process that included training in anatomy, disease processes, philosophies of healing, the profession of the music practitioner, and repertoire development. She served her internship at DePaul and has been playing for 8 hours a week at DePaul since 2005.
Music is known to be psychologically soothing, but it can also positively impact a listener’s vital signs. In a study of 740 patients between April 1990 and January 2009, researchers at the European Society of Cardiology 2009 Congress showed that music therapy reduced blood pressure, heart rate and patient anxiety. Researchers believe music affects the heart by decreasing sympathetic nervous activity, which increases during stress.
Some DePaul patients have returned surveys hailing the harp as “a wonderful stress reliever.” One patient even said that “the misery was truly forgotten for a day or so” after a music therapy session.
If you know of a patient who would benefit from bedside music, you can leave a message for Stowe at 757.889.5638. If you’re interested in learning more about the music therapy services offered at Bon Secours hospitals, call the CARE line at 757.889.2273!