Music Therapy Providing Relief for Cancer Patients

Music is listened to just about by every person from listening in the car on the way to work to sitting at home listening to relax our mood. Music to influence our healing and provide health benefits has been around for ages throughout history.

Enter music therapy which as sound evidence behind the practice. Many health experts do advocate that the rhythm of the music does produce a calming effect on us whether or not we realize it. Music therapy is used in a vast range of clinical settings. These treatments include patients listening to pre-recorded music to music therapists involving patients to the music experience in order to improve their psychological and physical well being.

A new Cochrane systematic review was headed by Dr. Joke Bradt, associate professor at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The researchers concentrated on trials with cancer patients that had been offered music or music therapy. They had examined findings from 1,891 patients who participated in thirty trials. Among the trials, thirteen had a trained music therapist and the other 17 had listened to pre-recorded music. The duration of the sessions and how many sessions had all varied.

The results had indicated music had remarkably decreased anxiety based on clinical anxiety scores in comparison to those who had received standard treatments. Among the trails some of them did reveal more benefits than the others. Some of the benefits of music had been improvement in mood and pain but did not have an affect on depression.

Smaller benefits had also been seen in heart and respiratory rates and blood pressure.

Dr. Bradt commented that the finding does advocate that music interventions could be useful in patients with cancer as an alternative therapy. Both music interventions (music therapist and pre-recorded music) have demonstrated positive results in this review. He further notes that there is not enough evidence currently to determine if one intervention is more effective than the other.

The researchers do note that the quality of evidence in some results was low due to the small number of trials conducted. More trials could aide in increasing certainty in findings and improve the knowledge of music’s impact on the body image along with other aspects for which there is little research to base any conclusions.

Music therapy has also been used for Alzheimer patients at the Institute of Music and Neurological Function at the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services in New York, to keep patients calm and aide them in improving memories.

Board Certified Music Therapist Elizabeth Pociask uses it for new patients to calm their infants.

Cheryl Dileo, professor of music therapy and director of the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center at Temple University in Philadelphia states that music therapists should be board certified along with completing a supervised internship and passed the national board exam. However, less formal music therapy can also still help.

There is also some evidence which shows that using music therapy along with conventional treatments can aide in decreasing pain and relieves nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

News Wire
American Cancer Society

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