Music therapy is the use of music by trained professionals to encourage relaxation and enhance quality of life in people receiving health care. The hope is to relieve stress and promote well-being.
Some people experience reduction of symptoms and improved healing. If you love listening to music, this therapy might be right for you.
During music therapy, you listen to music or use musical instruments under the guidance of a music therapist.
Other types of music therapy include singing and writing songs. Music therapy may be used along with other therapies, such as art therapy.
Music therapy uses music and sound to help one express one’s emotions; cope with symptoms of a disease and its treatment; improve one’s emotional and physical well-being; develop self confidence and self esteem; develop or re-kindle a sense of creativity; and help one to relax and feel comfortable.
You don’t need to have any musical ability or experience to benefit from music therapy. It is thought that our brain and body respond naturally to sound, including the rhythm and beat of music.
Music therapy is one of the best types of therapy for children with cancer, because who does not like music? Music therapy allows them to have fun and forget about the pain, nausea and other problems they are facing in their fight against cancer, if only for a little while.
Music Therapy as a Complementary Therapy
Music can be a powerful tool to help you regulate your mood, express your feelings, and interact with others.
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) defines music therapy as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional” (AMTA, 2013).
Music therapy can ease nausea and vomiting following high-dose chemotherapy when combined with anti-nausea drugs. In people with cancer, music therapy can:
- Increase feelings of relaxation, comfort, calm, and pleasure
- Enhance creativity through opportunities for self-expression
- Ease fear and anxiety
- Reduce short-term pain
- Decrease intensity of pain when combined with pain-reducing drugs
- Minimise the need for pain medication in some patients
- Lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness
- Improve quality of life
Music therapy can also affect stress hormones and brain waves (which can induce relaxation).
One of the main reasons people with cancer use music therapy is because it makes them feel good and the Music therapy sessions can provide a safe space for children with cancer to explore their fear, anxiety, anger and the range of emotional responses to living with cancer.
Music Therapy helps Children with Cancer to adjust to their prognosis easier, to cooperate and communicate, and to socialise with others.
How is Music Therapy Administered?
Trained music therapists tailor sessions to individuals and groups based on their needs and musical preferences. Music therapy is given in various settings like hospitals, treatment centres, at home or outdoors.
Music therapy can be experienced in a receptive or an active mode. In the receptive mode, you simply listen to and absorb sound, which can provide a particularly powerful means of experiencing deep relaxation.
In the active mode, you participate in making music along with the therapist—either one-on-one or in a group setting.
Music therapy sessions usually last between 30 to 60 minutes. The therapist may encourage patients to play or listen to music at home between sessions. Depending on the situation, a patient may have regular therapy for weeks or months, and could decide that they want to see their music therapist privately, or take part in group music therapy sessions.
The relationship between the patient and their music therapist is very important, and it is vital that if the patient does not feel comfortable with anything their therapist is doing, they discuss it with them.
One does not need to have a musical background to sing or play along with the music, or to select the music and help write songs. There are many ways that one can get involved in the musical experience and draw pleasure from it.
Read more about Music Therapy Research, Soud Therapy, Possible Side-effects and Risks etc., on our static Complementary & Alternative Therapies page, Music Therapy
Please note that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust shares information regarding various types of cancer treatments on this blog merely for informational use. LFCT does not endorse or promote any specific cancer treatments – we believe that the public should be informed but that the option is theirs to take as to what treatments are to be used.
Always consult your medical practitioner prior to taking any other medication, natural or otherwise.