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Improving quality of life, also with music

(Vienna, 15th February 2012) The palliative care doctors at the MedUni Vienna in the Vienna General Hospital have devoted all their efforts to just one aim. “It concerns improving the affected people’s quality of life in their remaining time with us”, says Herbert Watzke from the University Department of Internal Medicine I. The use of so-called music medicine, which deals with the effect of sounds on patients who are suffering from incurable diseases, plays a part in this. The result is that “music has a healing effect, even when healing in the narrowest sense of the word is not possible.”

With the support of artist Konstantin Wecker, whose mother has also been cared for over a long period of time in a palliative medicine department, music medicine should be promoted in the palliative care ward at the MedUni Vienna in the Vienna General Hospital. Fifty percent of the net profits go directly to the department in order to make necessary purchases. The other half goes to benefit charity projects. “We are also hoping that Wecker’s example sets a precedent. This project should be continued with other musicians”, says Klaus-Felix Laczika from the University Department of Internal Medicine I.

The specialist in internal medicine, Laczika, has been working with music therapy and music medicine on the intensive care ward for three years. In music therapy there is a “three-way relationship” between the therapist, the patient and the music. In music medicine the patient picks out the music, and the effect is measured by the hearing of it.

Music has a healing effect
In experiments Laczika has measured the breathing and the variation in heart rate of members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and its audience during a Mozart concert. “Every Mozart piano concert is a rollercoaster of all the human states of mind, ranging from ecstasy to peace and humour, which are able to be made visible by means of extremely modern stress research techniques”, explains Laczika.

This method of visualising stress and relaxation is also possible in critically ill cancer patients on the palliative care ward. “Even in these patients music is generally able to be used to put a patient into either a relaxed or a stimulated condition, in body and spirit, and therefore to improve their quality of life”, says Watzke, Austria’s only professor for palliative medicine. Konstantin Wecker has, by the way, declared himself to be willing to be wired up prior to and during a on-stage “musical dialogue“ and thereby to take part in the study himself.

Service: Projekt "HAUTNAH begleiten"
Benefiz zu Hospiz- und Musikmedizin
Konstantin Wecker im musikalischen Dialog mit Klaus-Felix Laczika
(Klavier), Thomas Staudinger (Gesang)
Samstag, 17. März 2012, 14.30 Uhr, Ehrbar Saal, Mühlgasse 30, 1040
Wien

Tickets:
Ö-Ticket (www.oeticket.com) und Stadtinitiative Wien (www.stadtinitiative.at).