STAR Center’s music therapy helps woman recovering from stroke

JACKSON, Tenn. — Mia Russell suffered a stroke at the age of 37, but luckily, by word of mouth, she heard of the STAR Center.

“She helped me with my speech. She writes what I need to say and she breaks it down,” Mia said. “I couldn’t have done this interview because my speech was gone, it was so ragged.”

The woman Mia is referring to is Rayma, Mia’s music therapist. The stroke that Mia suffered left her with a limited range of motion in her right side, especially her right hand.

“We have some different adaptive mallets or different adaptive instruments, so being able to hold on to that for assisting, so she had to do two hands in order to play stuff,” Rayma said.

The specialized type of therapy has helped Mia regain strength and motor skills.

According to Rayma, music therapy is a method of music intervention by a credentialed music therapist to work on a non-musical goal, and in Mia’s story, a neurological goal.

There was another challenge Mia faced — walking.

R.A.S., known as Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation, produces an auditory pulse, stimulates the brain and allows the body to regulate a walking pattern. R.A.S. has helped Mia with normalizing her steps.

“Instead of left, right, cane, you have enough time to wobble around and fall over, how about you get the cane and one foot at the same time, and just that first day you were gone,” Rayma said.

Mia says the STAR Center has changed her life. She says if there is one thing she would want people to do when learning of her success at the STAR Center, it is to donate. The STAR Center is a nonprofit agency and operates on donations and grants.

“People may want to come in here and they may have to say we can’t do it, and everybody needs a chance,” Mia added.

If you ask Mia what her favorite music is, she will quickly respond with “Bruno Mars.”

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