Music Lowers Anxiety
I have written before about the healing power of music and was pleased to see this article in Medscape. We all have music we love and know well the pleasure that it brings us. The power of music to evoke strong feelings is equally well known.
My favorite story about the power of music is this: when I was pregnant with my second daughter, I practiced relaxation and breathing every night to the background of Pachelbel's Canon (in my defense, this was long before it became over-played and even trivialized by being part of commercials). One day when she was about 12, we were eating lunch, and this piece came on the radio. She put down her soup spoon and rested her head on her arms, saying "I don't know what it is, but every time that I hear this song, I get so sleepy."
We may have different musical tastes, but I am quite sure that we all agree with the central theme. Here is the beginning and then a link:
Music Lowers Anxiety and Boosts Mood in Cancer Patients
August 12, 2011 — Listening to music may have a beneficial effect on anxiety, pain, mood, and quality of life in cancer patients, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.
The findings from the review, which included 30 trials and a total of 1891 patients, suggested that music therapy and music medicine interventions might also have a beneficial effect on heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure in cancer patients.
"The evidence suggests that music interventions may be useful as a complementary treatment to people with cancer," said lead researcher Joke Bradt, PhD, MT-BC, associate professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"Music interventions provided by trained music therapists as well as listening to prerecorded music both have shown positive outcomes in this review, but at this time there is not enough evidence to determine if one intervention is more effective than the other," she noted in a release.
Dr. Bradt also pointed out that when patients can't be blinded to an intervention, there is an opportunity for bias when they are asked to report on subjective measures such as anxiety, pain mood, and quality of life. Therefore, these results need to be interpreted with caution.
The researchers point out that the quality of evidence for some outcomes was low because of the small numbers of trials that have been performed. Further trials could help increase certainty in the findings and improve understanding of music's impact on distress, body image, and other aspects, for which research is currently too scarce to draw any conclusions.