Abstract and key points
- Music therapy is a therapeutic intervention involving the use of music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs.
- Some evidence exists for improvements in cancer-related anxiety, mood, depression, pain and quality of life
- Based on the considerable variation between trials, it is however not possible to generalise the results or to draw clear conclusions about the effectiveness of music therapy for people with cancer
- No safety issues are on record.
Music therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. The techniques used include playing instruments, rhythmic based activities, improvising, singing, composing/song writing, imagery and music listening.
It has been suggested that music therapy can promote wellbeing, stress management, pain alleviation, emotional expression, memory enhancement, improved communication and physical rehabilitation.
Although some evidence suggests that music therapy may be a helpful supportive care intervention among various cancer populations, to date there is no strong evidence about its specific effect in patients. There is considerable variation between trials with regards to the manner in which music therapy was carried out and it is therefore not possible to generalise the result.
No safety issues are on record.
CitationHelen Cooke, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Music therapy [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Music-therapy. December 9, 2014.
Summary first published in January 2013, authored by Helen Cooke.
Fully updated and revised by Helen Cooke in December 2014.
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The present documentation has been compiled by the CAM-CANCER Project with all due care and expert knowledge. However, the CAM-CANCER Project provides no assurance, guarantee or promise with regard to the correctness, accuracy, up-to-date status or completeness of the information it contains. This information is designed for health professionals. Readers are strongly advised to discuss the information with their physician. Accordingly, the CAM-CANCER Project shall not be liable for damage or loss caused because anyone relies on the information.