Linda Fisher, assistant professor, division of internal medicine/paediatrics, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill, is among a growing number of health-care professionals who play therapeutic music for patients in hospitals, hospices, homes and other clinical settings to help promote healing.
She plays for adult, paediatric and adolescent patients suffering from illnesses ranging from cancer and stroke to trauma and cardiovascular problems.
"What a music practitioner does is provide a healing atmosphere with live music at the bedside of patients," said Fisher.
But she does try to take into account individual musical preferences and carefully observes patients' reactions and adjusts to find the music that best suits patients' therapeutic needs.
"The music I play is not necessarily familiar. It's healing music that puts the patient in a special place of peace as far as the music's rhythm, melodies and tonal qualities," Fisher said.
Fisher settled on a harp because she was always taken with the instrument's unique acoustic qualities.
Fisher played the instrument in Donna Kuzniar's room at Loyola University Hospital.
As Kuzniar closed her eyes, the soothing tones took her to a serene place and time, free of the pain and worry of her serious illness.
She remained in her tranquil haven for about 30 minutes until Fisher completed her performance and quietly and unobtrusively packed up her music, stand and portable harp and prepared to leave.
"God is great. When you get somebody like Linda Fisher who puts herself out there, it's really encouraging. It's just so generous, so generous of her spirit," Kuzniar said.