Music Therapy for Cancer Patients

Looking back into history, the origin of music is unknown, however during ancient times, music was originally used as a part of rituals and healing ceremonies. Music was thought to have divine worth that brought balance to the human soul, therefore has had significant importance to healing of the body. Music is a part of our everyday lives, it is used in expressing our feelings and emotions, worship, during happy times such as weddings, sad times such as funerals. It is believed that listening to certain types of music in early developing years can help develop the brain, Carlos Santana says “ music can change your molecular structure.

” With music being such a huge part of life, who is to say that music can not also heal the sick. Music therapy is a practice that is widely known today; an interpersonal intervention that addresses to the psychological and physical needs of many different patients (American Music Therapy Association, 2009). The observation of music therapy first began during the World War I and World War II. Injured military veterans were made to participate in music activities in hopes to relieve trauma and pain sensitivities.

Major effects were seen through the treatment of music therapy, patients had an increase rate of recovery and rehabilitation. Therefore, in 1950 the National Association for Music Therapy was created which is now known as the American Music Therapy Association (American Music Therapy Association, 2009). Music therapy is a treatment that focuses on the management for pain, rehabilitation, and medical procedures. There are different types of music therapy, some of which are behavioral, cognitive, and psychodynamic therapy.

Research shows that music affects parts of the brain and responses to it. It is a way for patients to stimulate a response to their senses and feelings and focus on improving their quality of life. For a music therapist, it is important to establish patient goal that helps patients to gain an objective. Using music, vocals, and instruments, the therapist focuses on the improvement of the patient’s emotional, behavior, social, physical, and psychological development (American Music Therapy Association, 2009).

Also providing chances to change positive moods and emotions, reducing stress and anxiety, active participation and response to treatment, and also the decrease the length of the patients stay in the hospital. With music therapy, just by reducing stress, anxiety, and pain, the patient can undergo many positive physiological changes such as lowering their blood pressure, reducing heart rate, reducing muscle tension, improving respiration and improving cardiac output (American Music Therapy Association, 2009).

Professor Suzanne Hanser states that the main protocol for music therapy is to “direct attention away from pain or anxiety, distracting the listener with comforting music, to provide a musical stimulus for rhythmic breathing, offer a rhythmic structure for systematic release of body tension, cue positive visual imagery, condition a deep relaxation response, to change mood, and to focus on positive thoughts and feelings and to celebrate life (American Music Therapy Association, 2009). ” Music therapy today is used for many different types of patients including epilepsy, autism, strokes, heart disease, and cancer patients.

Cancer is the second largest diagnosed disease and one of the most important. In the year 2007 The US National Cancer Institute estimated about a total of 11,714,000 people had cancer. Of this number breast cancer was the largest, making it a count of 2,605,00 people that had breast cancer. The second largest was prostate cancer, making it a total of 2,276,000 males that had prostate cancer. Therefore because of cancer and chemotherapy, patients are experiencing pain that diminishes their quality of life. The World Health Organization stated that 97% of all cancer patients’ pains could be controlled (Kaliyaperumal, 2010).

This means that patients with cancer do not need to feel anymore pain than is really necessary. Studies showed that patients that had bone marrow transplants received music therapy and reported to feeling less pain, nausea, and vomiting (Oppenheim, 2003). University of Rochester Medical Center studied 42 various type cancer patients, of which half would receive music therapy and the other would not. The patients receiving the treatment would met a music therapist twice a week and they would write music, play, or just talk about music during their sessions.

Also the patients were encouraged to picture positive settings. The study showed that the patients that have received music therapy felt less pain and nausea than the patients that have not received any music therapy. It was also shown that patients that did not receive music therapy took longer to improve after the bone marrow transplant (Oppenheim, 2003). Another study evaluated the results of music therapy gave a 100% significances that music therapy decreased their level of stress and anxiety, and a 70% significance that music therapy helped decrease their level of pain (Oppenheim, 2003).

Evidence gives results that music serves the patients as a distraction, which helps in the reduction of pain. Music therapy can also help in making the patient feel more in control of their life, this can bring a positive outlook for the patient that feels at a loss of control of their life and body due to their illness. With feeling less pain and having a positive outlook will help not only in the process of treatment but promote relaxation and rhythmic breathing, which reduces stress and anxiety (Kaliyaperumal, 2010).

Music is not only a great therapy treatment for patients but also stimulates great positive results to the medical provider. When surgeons and staff are allowed to listen to any music of their choice in the operating rooms, not only were the results positive but it also increased their speed and accuracy (Kaliyaperumal, 2010). This is due to the increase of concentration that familiar music provides which reduces the stress of overtime in the operation rooms, that which brings about these positive results.

Music that was also given to patients during and after surgery had a higher and improved tolerance for pain. Music that was chosen by the preference of the patient needed fewer anesthetics during the surgery and less medication during their recovery (Kaliyaperumal, 2010). Studies also showed that smoothing and calm music increased levels of oxytocin during surgery and patients required less morphine than patients that did not listen to music (Kaliyaperumal, 2010). Patients treated with music therapy also experienced less pain when patients were in the control group that received pain medication.

Music therapy is also very significant for recovery patients because studies showed that patients that received music therapy had higher self-esteem (Kaliyaperumal, 2010). I believe that there is still a lot more study and researches to be done in this area of music therapy. However, the effects of music therapy should not be denied. Since the beginning of history, music has always been apart of life. Therefore, even when people are sick and lifeless people should be able to improve because they know that with life there is always hope.

Music therapy is a when the use of music helps interventions of individuals and their goals by having the relationship of a therapist. With the goal of social, emotional, physical, and mental well being, music therapy consists of listening to music, writing music, talking about music, performing, learning, planning, and an ongoing treatment of participation and responses that helps the patients in many areas. Because music such a large aspect of our everyday lives, more people should be required to take the treatment, especially patients that have autism, heart disease, strokes, and cancer.

The treatment of music therapy is not as popular as it should be due to the mind set that people may have which people might not really believe the effects of music therapy. Since music is so common, people don’t truly grasp the effects that music has on them, therefore may not understand the major differences that can come about through music therapy. However, if there were more research that backs up the outcomes of music therapy, then more people may want to receive the treatment. It can also be a suggestion that music therapy shouldn’t only be a one patient one-therapist treatment.

If more patients come together that share the same common background, then they may also share the same enlightening experience of therapy. This will not only improve their mental well being but they will also be able to improve their communication and social well being because they are being apart of a community. Some problems that music therapy may bring about is that people that are not influenced by music or have not had any music experience, may experience more stress by going through music therapy. Also if patients are solely relying on music therapy alone to improve may also experience more stress or other health issues.

However, overall music therapy can be very beneficial to many people of all types. Especially to patients that have cancer, music therapy can be very helpful in relieving tension and anxiety, which may lead to more serious health problems. Therefore should be an remedy that everyone should think about.

Reference American Music Therapy Association. (2009).

What is Music Therapy, American Music Therapy Association definition, 2005. Retrieved May 13, 2011, from http://www. musictherapy. org/faqs. html Kaliyaperumal, R. , Subash, J. G. (2010). Effect of Music Therapy for Patients with Cancer Pain.International Journal of Biological and Medical Research. 1(3): 79-81.

Retrieved May 13, 2011, from http://www. biomedscidirect. com/journalfiles/IJBMRF201017/effect_of_music_ther apy_for_patients_with_cancer_pain. pdf Oppenheim, R. (2003). Music Therapy Helps Cancer Patients. Retrieved May 14, 2011, from http://www. rense. com/general39/myu. htm Magill, L. , Levin, T. , & Spodek, L. (2008). One-Session Music Therapy and CBT for Critically Ill Cancer Patients. Psychiatric Services, 59(10), 1216. Retrieved May 13, 2011, from Psychology Module. (Document ID: 1576210661).

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