A local company is treating patients who suffer from neurological disorders and brain injuries with the healing powers of music, a type of therapy researchers say is gaining traction in the medical world.
MedRhythms, founded by 26-year-old Brian Harris — who earned his master’s degree in music therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge — uses rhythm and melodies to help combat the effects of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, autism and the aftermath of strokes.
“It’s incredible to watch someone who’s lost language or lost movement take their first step and say their first word with music,” Harris said. “The really interesting thing about this work is that we often see drastic changes.”
The company has a handful of employees, but is looking to expand. Harris said the staff has logged nearly 1,000 clinical hours in total.
MedRhythms, the first neurologic music therapy company in New England, uses music’s ability to engage patients who face challenges with speech and movement.
“It could be singing or walking to a rhythm, or engaging in a task that challenges their mind,” Harris said. “Every time someone has a response to it, and it happens a lot, it absolutely amazes me.”
Harris is trained on the drums and viola, but was not interested in pursuing music education or live performance.
Music therapy “just made sense,” he said.