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Healing Arts

Last Updated Friday, January 30, 2015 2:05:00 PM

El Camino Hospital's innovative Healing Arts Program provides a humanistic and holistic approach to healing through music, art, and visits from therapy dogs.

The doctors and nurses of El Camino Hospital understand that in order to provide the very best care, they must treat more than physical symptoms. Our multi-faceted Healing Arts Program addresses the emotional needs of patients and families by creating a soothing, compassionate hospital environment, which reduces stress and facilitates quicker healing. According to Dr. Joshua Sickel, who initiated several of the programs, "Healing comes in many forms. This approach is our way of letting the patient know that we care and that we are all in this together."

Music as Medicine

The healing properties of music have been known since ancient times. At El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and Los Gatos, professional musicians cart their solo instruments from ward to ward, playing in hallways and along bedsides for patients, staff and visitors. The soothing sounds of jazz and classical guitar, Celtic and double-strung harp, piano and voice create an unexpectedly warm space within the hospital environment.

Several professional musicians visit our campuses:

  • Jeff Buenz plays Latin and jazz guitar and bass.
  • Barbary Grant plays Celtic music and traditional song on the Irish harp.
  • Reta Phillips is a pianist, keyboardist, vocalist, composer and workshop facilitator.
  • Dona Reyes plays classical Spanish guitar music.
  • David Snellbacher plays an assortment of guitar music including old English, Celtic, classical, traditional Christmas carols and contemporary music.

Patients and families can arrange for a visit from a Healing Arts musician by calling Guest Services at 650-962-5836.

Creative Expressions: Painting Classes for El Camino Hospital Cancer Patients

Like music, the creation of art can be a life-affirming, healing experience. Professional artist and teacher Tehila Eisenstat has seen first-hand how the process of making art helps patients cope with disease, pain and stress. She teaches painting to patients at the hospital through her weekly Creative Expressions classes.

Tehila developed this program as a way of sharing the joy of art with people in need. She welcomes patients with all levels of painting experience into her class. By carefully demonstrating painting techniques, giving students individual attention, and fostering a non-judgmental, supportive environment, Eisenstat encourages her students to create paintings with depth and movement, and to find their passion and style. In the process these art classes have become a wonderful support group, giving the participants an opportunity to focus together on color and shape rather than needles and pain.

For more information about Tehila Eisenstat, please visit her website.

Meeting Days and Times:
Every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. -  7:30 p.m. or
Every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

To register or for more information, please call 650-962-4330. The class is free of charge, but registration is required.

Art at the Bedside

Image of Nili Helman-CaspiNili Helman-Caspi brings the joy of the creative process directly to patients in Mountain View and Los Gatos. Armed with water colors, crayons, construction paper, fabric and a myriad of other media, the artist engages individual patients in a creative journey that relieves the stress and anxiety of their hospital stay. Patients report the art sessions provide relief from boredom and pain. In addition to the hands-on projects, they can include discussions of art history or other conversation. The art sessions usually take place in the patient's room at the bedside, but can also be arranged in waiting rooms for individuals or groups, depending on the patient's needs and requests. Nili is fluent in several languages and is happy to facilitate her sessions in English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, and basic German and Spanish. The art sessions are free to patients and families and can be arranged by calling Spiritual Care at 650-988-7568.

Canine Companionship

The gentle affection of animals offers another form of healing therapy by decreasing feelings of loneliness, facilitating relaxation and encouraging communication.

Volunteers affiliated with Therapy Dogs International regularly bring their animals to visit patients at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. The dogs meet rigorous standards for obedience, are comfortable in the hospital setting and are easygoing with people.

The joy patients express during these visits consistently confirms the love and healing these animals are able to provide. This program is entirely volunteer-run and neither requires nor receives any funds from the hospital or the foundation.

To arrange for a visit by a therapy dog, please call Spiritual Care at 650-988-7568.

How You Can Help

If you would like to directly support the El Camino Hospital Healing Arts Program, please send your tax-deductible contribution to:

Healing Arts Program
El Camino Hospital Foundation
2500 Grant Road M/S PAR116
Mountain View, CA 94040-4378

Please include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address with your check made payable to El Camino Hospital Foundation.

For more information about the Foundation or how your donations can support El Camino Hospital, please contact El Camino Hospital Foundation at 650-940-7154.

For information about volunteering for the Healing Arts Program, please contact Guest Services at 650-962-5836.