Rachel Francine: She’s Turning Music into Medicine

June 26 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: Striking a Chord

Do you have a favorite song that reminds you of a specific person, time or memory? Whether it’s a sweet melody by Lauryn Hill, a ditty from The Lumineers or a classic by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, music has the unique power to transform us, time-travel style, back to the best of times in our lives. There’s a memorable quote from the movie Almost Famous, in which Kate Hudson’s character, Penny Lane, exclaims, “If you ever get lonely, you just go to the record store and visit your friends.” Today, if you’re feeling like life has become a real doozy, spin a bit of your favorite vinyl or open up iTunes and visit your best musical friends.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 5

The transformative ability of music can provide actual healing for many people, including patients suffering from dementia. According to a recent study, there are five key ways in which music can be an effective tool to help Alzheimer’s patients, in particular. In addition to eliciting specific memories, music can bring about emotional and physical closeness with others, shift patients’ moods, help manage stress and stimulate positive interactions. When patients listen to music, they often feel compelled to dance and sing, which triggers additional brainpower. And researchers say music is an exceptional way to reach beyond the disease and actually connect with the person within.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Rachel Francine, Co-founder and CEO of Musical Health Technologies

One reason we know so much about the amazing benefits of music is because some seriously smart and determined folks have thoroughly researched the subject and discovered music’s immense capabilities. One such clever brainiac is digital pioneer Rachel Francine, the co-founder of Musical Health Technologies and the mobile music platform SingFit, whose entire goal is to employ the supersonic science of singing to turn music into medicine.

The company’s super cool SingFit Prime product—a cognitive and physical-stimulation program designed by music therapists and created specifically for seniors—works to fully engage the mind and body by prompting users to remember lyrics while hearing melodies, and incorporates movement, trivia and reminiscence, thereby relieving stress, elevating mood and creating greater focus.

The act of singing as medicine has been well-documented, with singing demonstrating all-over neurological activity in the brain, even in patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury. As an example, Rachel recalls the awe-inspiring comeback story of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who, after enduring a gunshot wound to the head in 2012, credited singing and the lyric-prompting technique with giving her the ability to speak again.

Musical Health Technologies’ SingFit relies on music therapists and tech gurus to build on the astounding scientific research and discovery of music therapy. Patients sing along with the app, which tracks personal data to encourage users to keep growing their singing hobby—enhancing their brainpower all the while. And since SingFit has been such a hit with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and among senior-living communities, Rachel is now working to release products that aid in the recovery of other health-related issues, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

One key reason health-care providers and occupational therapists are so excited about SingFit has to do with the app’s splendid ability to put a dent in loneliness by connecting those in assisted-living communities, where social isolation can dramatically affect the quality of life for the elderly. Think about it: If you hear your comrades in the dining hall belting out “Climb Every Mountain,” wouldn’t you want to leave the isolation of your room and join in?

Thanks, Rachel, for putting science to work to create life-changing technology that’s motivating people the world over to literally break into song. That’s music to our ears!

QUITE THE QUOTE

On that note, I’ll leave you today with this quote from Greek philosopher Plato. He said:

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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