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Body and Soul

Music Therapy and Jazz

Russ Freeman

For many jazz fans, music is good therapy. But for a growing number of health professionals, it’s serious medicine.

More than 5,000 music therapists in the United States enter hospitals, hospices and nursing homes to jam with the elderly, sing with the sick and trade fours with the youngsters. Doctors explain that familiar lyrics are jarring the memories of Alzheimer patients, strains of melody are easing the pain of chronic sufferers and specific rhythms are helping regenerate muscle tissue in physical therapy patients.

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