Using Music to Help Others and Make a Difference
By Alison Rentschler
Have you heard of music therapy and wondered what it’s about and how it helps people?
Christina Wood, owner of Healing Rhythms Music Therapy, describes, “Music therapy is using music as our tool to help people regardless of age or ability.” Wood says, “Music therapists use music to promote comfort and ease pain for individuals in the hospital or at end of life, help children maintain developmental skills, and help promote healthy coping skills.”
How it started
Wood shares, “I chose to pursue a career path and degree in music therapy after personally witnessing the positive impact of music on my own grandparents as they aged.” Wood has bachelor’s degrees in music therapy and music education and a Master of Arts in music therapy.
Wood explains she started Healing Rhythms with the intent to increase access to high-quality music therapy services and empower people through music. Wood owned a business from 2006 to 2013 and rebranded her business to Healing Rhythms in 2013. Wood notes, “My goal was to create a cohesive strengths-based team approach to better serve our communities’ needs through music therapy.”
“I feel blessed to combine my two passions of music and helping people in being an entrepreneur and small business owner to make a difference in the lives of people across our region,” Wood reflects.
About Healing Rhythms
Healing Rhythms provides individual therapy in their clinic in Rochester, which opened in 2017. Wood describes, “We primarily serve children and adults with disabilities. We also offer early childhood music groups, adaptive music lessons and drum circles.”
The 10 board-certified music therapists serve 18 counties in greater southern Minnesota, Wood says.
Wood notes that they partner with over 30 community organizations, such as hospitals, hospices, senior living communities, schools and non-profits. “We collaborate in bringing group and individual music therapy services to them.”
“Our goal is rarely to teach music to our clients,” Wood explains. “Rather, music is the tool that we use to support our clients in reaching their goals. These goals may be pain management in the hospital, helping a child with autism to learn his or her address, or optimizing cognition for an individual with dementia.”
Making an impact
“Our team of board-certified music therapists is entrusted to be witness and hold sacred space through music for many of our clients at some of life’s most fragile moments,” Wood explains. She notes these moments could be when a child is newly diagnosed with cancer, an adult is dealing with pain post-surgery and needs assistance with coping skills through music, or a family is holding vigil around their loved one at the end of life.
“Each of our therapists have countless stories we hold near and dear to our hearts where we have witnessed music therapy make a profound impact on the lives of the patients and their loved ones,” Wood says.
Wood remembers, “My own child was in the hospital, a place where I had worked for the past 11 years. But being on the other side was a humbling experience. Thanks to having one of my own music therapists on the unit, our son was able to better cope with being hospitalized and having an IV placed.”
Wood also remembers being with grieving families at the bedside of patients as they took their last breath. Wood says, “Supporting all of their needs through live patient-preferred music that creates a space for sharing memories about their loved one through laughter, music and tears is something I will always view as a positive result from music therapy.”
Upcoming events and sessions
• Drum circle one Saturday a month at 7 pm–Open to anyone who would like to attend.
No previous experience needed.
• Early childhood music classes
• Group ukulele classes
• Individual therapy sessions
Find out more at: www.healingrhythmsmt.com, Facebook @healingrhythmsmt.com,
Instagram @healingrhythmsmusictherapyllc or Twitter @HRhythmsMusicTx
Alison Rentschler is a writer and editor living in Rochester, Minn., who loves her animals and is always looking forward to her future travel plans.