Ben Platt and Sister-in-Law Courtney on Using Music Therapy to Treat Her MS: 'It's So Inclusive of Everybody'
Ben Platt and his sister-in-law Courtney, a professional dancer who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), are using music to help others who are battling the disease.
On Tuesday's episode of the new PEOPLE Every Day podcast, hosted by Janine Rubenstein, Ben, 27, and Courtney, 32, opened up about teaming up with the American Music Therapy Association and Bristol Myers Squibb for the initiative MS in Harmony, which uses music therapy to help MS patients achieve "harmony of the body and mind."
"MS in Harmony is really an incredible opportunity to be able to connect your body and your mind, and to help MS patients physically, mentally, emotionally," said Courtney, a So You Think You Can Dance finalist who was diagnosed with the disease at 23 after experiencing symptoms during a tour with the show. "And it's just been such an incredible opportunity to get to experience these modules and kind of let music guide me, and using it as such a great tool for disease management."
She added, "There's so many resources and research that has happened since I was diagnosed, so this has really been an incredible opportunity for sure."
Meanwhile, Ben told Rubenstein that it was a "no-brainer" to get involved in an initiative to support Courtney, who is married to his brother Jonah.
"Watching her live with this disease with such grace and strength and ease and honesty and transparency is incredibly inspiring," the Broadway star said.
"I think sometimes you can feel, as a loved one nearby, like you don't really have a way into that experience or that you can't relate to what someone's going through, or that they need to, to a certain extent, be experiencing it as an independent battle," he continued. "With this particular therapy, with music therapy, it's something that is so inclusive of loved ones and of caretakers and of everybody who's affected by the disease."
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The initiative's website offers different breathing exercises, seeing exercises and movement exercises that focus on connecting the body and mind and creating "harmony" between the two.
"You also don't need to be a dancer or singer to actually do these modules," clarified Courtney, who, in addition to appearing on season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance, had a recurring role on Glee. "It's really fun, actually. And it's just an amazing opportunity to involve the whole family, caregivers, people with MS."
"It is for people with relapse and remitting MS. It is for people with secondary MS, primary, progressive MS," she added. "It's a management tool for everybody. The most exciting part is that you're able to reach everyone."
Check out more from Ben and Courtney's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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