Soothing sounds and relaxing vibrations are incorporated into the innovative inmu sound cushions, activating the senses of people with brain injuries.
The human body responds to music. What feels like a healing sound to some can be unbearable noise to others. After suffering brain injuries or a stroke, music and sounds can put tremendous strain on patients. In such cases, even something as subtle as birdsong can become intolerable. These findings are the reason that in recent years, music therapy has become increasingly significant in the process of neurological rehabilitation of brain injuries.
Meditational Soundscapes Regulate the Nervous System.
The Attruphøj residential facility, located in Denmark, has recently been testing a new and unique therapy tool called inmu. The facility houses 28 patients with acquired brain injuries and is an institution provided by the municipality; employing 90 professionals from the fields of pedagogy, nursing and occupational therapy. Specialists work on the rehabilitation of the residents with the help of music therapy. Attruphøj applies neuropathic methods within their rehabilitation programme.
“Most of Attruphøj’s residents suffer from an increased sensory arousal level. This means that they have difficulty regulating environmental stimuli. They are exposed to a steady stream of sensations and the nervous system is not able to regulate the reaction,” explains Gitte Hundstrup Nielsen, head of the facility.
Closeness and Communication Without Words
inmu, which is the abbreviation for ‘interactive music’, is a non-invasive tool to help making a patient’s everyday life easier. “inmuRELAX promotes tranquillity and joy. The music helps the resident to remain balanced, avoiding conflict as a result. This is a dignified method to help people and above all it is versatile in its application.” inmuRELAX can be used to lower or increase the sensory arousal level (activation level). The soft sounds, pleasant vibration and smooth fabric of the sound cushion have a relaxing and soothing effect on the body. By moving and touching the sound cushion, the user activates the musical soundscapes, which stimulate the senses.
When asked how inmu improves patients’ everyday lives, Hundstrup Nielsen explains: “We work with systematic risk assessment. This means that we respond on the basis of the signs that the residents exhibit. If a resident raises their voice, screams or tries to threaten someone, it is due to them experiencing discomfort. For example, we have one particular resident for whom our employees ensure to avoid sensory overstimulation. But in case of staff being unable to personally tend to the patient we resort to inmu. As soon as they hold inmu, we can observe a state of relaxation and tranquillity. The level of comfort and well-being, which are achieved through the meditational soundscapes, become visible and it also aids many residents in falling asleep.”
Musical Stimulation for a Self-determined Everyday Life
Depending on the severity of brain damage, tremendous restrictions to everyday life can occur. Psychological changes and disorders can have a significant effect on a person’s perception, lead to motor disorders as well as speech impediments. The person cannot participate in regular everyday life, which affects them and the people around them. The self-image of the affected individual often deviates from reality – a discrepancy that is difficult to accept. The recovery process is tedious, accompanied by a strong desire for a normal life.
Recovery and inner balance can be promoted by music and vibrations: “We receive regular visits from a music therapist who incorporates inmuDANCE into their work, using it as a ball to play catch. While inmuRELAX has soothing and low sounds, inmuDANCE uses cheerful and animating music – the residents automatically dance, move or sing along. The results are impressive: inmu elicits an alert gaze, more relaxed facial expressions and improved posture.” With 25 years of experience in the Danish health sector, Gitte Hundstrup Nielsen has yet to come across anything she can compare to inmu: “I would recommend inmu to all professionals working within rehabilitation. This includes work with elderly people, psychiatric patients, people with physical and mental disabilities and acquired brain injuries.”
Helping People Help Themselves
The residents of Attruphøj are adults aged 18 to 85, with different types of and often severe acquired brain injuries. They all share a common wish and goal that reflects basic human needs: a self-determined life and the recovery of their identity. inmu treads a new path within the rehabilitation sector. Dependence and the need for constant care decreases and sensory abilities increase without external support. Mobility is another key factor: inmu is easy to handle, lightweight and hence can be effortlessly incorporated into everyday life; whether for use during the night, in critical situations or while travelling.
English translation of the feature article in the German magazine “NOT” 1/2019.
Read original article here
About the Magazine:
NOT is a special interest magazine for brain injury and stroke patients as well as their relatives, nursing staff, therapists, doctors, acute clinics, rehabilitation facilities, therapy and nursing homes.
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