Grammy Award-winning singer, activist and breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John recently spoke about the healing benefits of music in cancer treatment. In a piece on NBC’s The Today Show, the 69-year-old Newton-John, who recently suffered a breast cancer relapse after 25 years in remission, gave the world a glimpse of the treatment and wellness facility in Melbourne, Australia, which bears her name, and talked about the advantages of going beyond traditional treatment practices for optimal overall health. An avid proponent of music therapy in her own recovery, Newton-John and her colleagues proudly offer their own musical therapy track at the facility, along with other supplemental mind-and-body therapeutic techniques like art, yoga, meditation and more. She calls the center her home away from home.
The center’s approach to music therapy is not unlike that of the Recovery Unplugged treatment center. Patients will engage in therapeutic journaling (writing down their feelings) and sing what they wrote aloud. Participants gain an emotional release from this practice and are able to sing freely without thinking about their diagnoses, chemotherapy or treatment. The practice goes hand in hand with the philosophy of treating the mind as well as the body, and helps patients to express themselves on a deeper level, confront dormant emotions and effectively cope with the road ahead of them. Newton-John places high emphasis on emotional wellness during the cancer treatment process, an asset she said she had to cultivate on her own when she went through the disease the first time.
Face the Music Foundation and our partners at Recovery Unplugged have long believed in the innate power of music to heal emotional trauma and corresponding substance abuse. As more and more treatment centers integrate musical medicine into their menu of therapies, we look forward to seeing music used as an increasingly common healing resource.