WFRV (Green Bay) Being sick and in the hospital can be very stressful even scary for some people. Aurora Baycare Medical Center is using the healing power of harp music to brighten patient’s spirits.
Audrey Nowak strolls the halls of Aurora BayCare Medical Center with her specialized harp.
“I walk around the hospital and go into patient rooms with the sole purpose of soothing and comforting, reducing pain, reducing blood pressure,” explained Audrey Nowak, Hospital Certified Harp Therapist.
As a hospital certified harp therapist Audrey says music can soothe the soul and the body, “Create a cradle of sound that a patient can relax into, help heal their hearts as well as their bodies,” explained Audrey.
Audrey says a lot of research has gone into the healing effects of the therapy, “There is a lot of research and we are using sound waves specifically to help heal,” said Audrey.
When Audrey first walked into Lori Wier’s hospital room last December, “As soon as I started hearing the harp everything else went away, the IVs went away, the blood tests went away,” said Lori Wier, patient.
Lori had suffered a debilitating mini stroke and the music teacher was unable to play her violin skillfully. “I couldn’t make my fingers go down the way I wanted them to. It was very frightening because I thought that’s it, my career is over,” said Lori.
Audrey encouraged Lori to play, “I saw her violin sitting on the shelf and I said- hey get that thing out and play with me,” said Audrey.
“She was so welcoming and she didn’t make me fee like a patient, that was the cool part, she made me fee like a colleague. So I busted out the fiddle,” Lori said smiling.
At that time Lori was still far from playing to up to her previous ability- but Audrey’s encouragement helped her get on the road to recovery.
“When you have caring musicians that want to help people and not just go out there and entertain but actually help people heal and Audrey is one of those people,” said Lori.
“Often I will go into a room and patients will just cry, I think it’s a combination of just the instrument itself and having someone there just for you,” Audrey said proudly.
Lori is back playing her violin at a professional level. You can find Audrey playing her harp at the hospital four days a week.