The 3 M’s of Stroke Recovery: Music, Meditation, and Meals

 By: Patricia Raya, BS, RN,C, MBA and Brain Injury Survivor


I am a music geek; I have been playing the clarinet since the 4th grade. Music has always been an important part of my life and of who I am.

After my stroke, my family told me that they brought in a CD player and played some of my favorite music for me while I was in intensive care. They even quizzed my doctors on the different composers.

Many studies have shown that listening to music can improve attention, memory, verbal memory and focus, as well as decrease stress and depression.

When I am at home, or working on independent therapy, I always have my music available. I am looking forward to getting my right hand back in the game so I can take my clarinets out of retirement and get back into my bands.

When I was a rehabilitation in-patient, there was a physical therapist named Jim who was also a very talented guitarist and singer. On Wednesdays, he would perform for patients and visitors.  It was very enjoyable and I looked forward to it very much.   He performed a wide variety of songs so there was something for everyone.  He even took requests.

Meditation has been proven to be an essential benefit for recovery from stroke and brain injury. Just 20-30 minutes of meditation a day has been proven to be helpful. It can reduce depression, fatigue, stress, and tiredness.  It also helps to improve attention, information processing, and emotional regulation. In order to be effective, meditation should be done on a daily basis.  Start by listening to some guided meditations where you can focus on someone else’s voice. After some time, you can try going solo!

Eating well after a stroke or brain injury is important for your recovery and overall health. Eating healthy can help control blood pressure, maintain a good body weight, and help you have the energy needed for the demands of therapy. The help of a registered dietitian can aid in setting up a proper diet and making healthy food choices.

The road to recovery after a brain injury is long and takes time. Speaking with your healthcare provider and incorporating the 3 M’s can make the journey a little less stressful and more manageable.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.
The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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