Highlanders in the News: Week of Jan. 17

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Jim Borling, professor emeritus and former director of music therapy at Radford University.

The healing power of music

A Jan. 12 article in National Geographic, “How Music is Used to Heal the Sick in Appalachia,” looks at a number of regional physicians, therapists and caregivers who also bring song and other sounds into the treatment of their patients and clients.

One mixes banjo performances with pulmonary screenings. Another composes hometown odes while conducting a physical examination.

The extensive, expansive story by Taylor Sisk takes a closer look at these practices while also winding through such neighboring locales as Abingdon, Saltville, Floyd County and Bristol, Tennessee.

One figure who makes a key appearance in the piece is Jim Borling, professor emeritus at Radford University and its former director of music therapy.

In the article, readers sit in as Borling employs the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music to help treat a Roanoke woman who’s trying to overcome a nearly decade-long addiction to heroin.

“This highly experiential music-centered psychotherapy combines classical music, non-ordinary states of consciousness and spontaneous imagery, allowing clients to access and explore areas in need of deep healing and growth,” Borling explained of the Bonny Method earlier this week.

Within the story, at the close of her session, the woman addresses her aversion to isolation and acknowledges that while her need for human connections “feeds my spirit,” she ultimately says she realizes she needs to find comfort and acceptance when she’s alone.

Borling tells her that’s “an important shift for us as we step into a life of recovery.”

He also offers one of the closing lines of the piece: “Music allows us to tap into that innate desire to grow that is already within us, that desire to move toward wholeness, that desire to heal.”

In discussing the article, Borling said he appreciated the exposure it lends to a form of therapy he believes could be of help to others.

“While this article just scratches the surface of music’s potential as a healing art, it does reveal just how deeply rooted music and health are in our regional culture. We see how being engaged in the music experience leads beautifully to healing of body, mind and spirit,” he noted.

Borling previously appeared on a 2012 episode of the radio program “With Good Reason” to talk about ways certain types of music can help teens struggling with substance abuse issues.

Going the distance, going for speed….

A story this month on InsideNoVa.com will catch readers up on former Radford University men’s soccer forward Nick Mayhugh who, as a sprinter, brought three gold medals and a silver home from the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Writer Dave Fawcett’s Jan. 14 article details how Mayhugh, who has cerebral palsy, first joined the U.S. Para 7-a-side National Soccer Team in 2017 and was later named the U.S. Soccer Player of the Year with a Disability in 2019.

It also recounts how, that same year, Mayhugh opted to pivot to running track. He had sprinting experience from soccer training but had not competed in that field since middle school. In order to hone his skills, the story says, he undertook a regimen that required training for 60 hours each week.  

That effort paid off at the U.S. Paralympic Team track and field trials, where Mayhugh set a world record for 100 meters and an American record for 200.

“At the Paralympics, he won gold in the 100 meters with a world record of 10.95 seconds, a time that made him the first athlete with a T37 disability classification to finish under 11 seconds,” the story says.

He also struck gold for 200 meters and as a member of the 400-meter universal mixed relay in a world-record time of 45.52 seconds. His silver medal came from the 400-meter range.

While Mayhugh hopes to return to competitive soccer at some point, the story said that for now, he’s preparing to run track at the 2022 World Para Athletics Championships, also in Japan, from late August into early September.

InsideNoVa.com is a Northern Virginia website that covers news, sports, traffic and weather in Arlington, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties. It boasts more than 80,000 email subscribers, according to its website. 

Jan 21, 2022
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150