Music Therapy and Cancer Care

music therapy brain

Complementary therapies can improve your strength and control of the physical and emotional symptoms associated with cancer and other illnesses. Ideally, such approaches are rational, evidence-based practices delivered or taught by trained practitioners. Examples include mind-body practices such as meditation and self-hypnosis; massage therapies; dietary counseling and manipulation; physical fitness (including aerobic and anaerobic exercise, qigong, tai chi, yoga, and many other practices); acupuncture; and music therapy. Today we turn to music therapy.

What: Music therapy is the use of usic to encourage healing and to promote a general sense of well-being. Patients listen or perform music under the guidance of a professionally trained and certified music therapist. Music therapists perform, listen to music with patients, analyze their lyrics, write songs, and join in music improvisation. Patients may play or listen to music, based on their historic experiences and clinical condition. After assessing a patient’s condition, the music therapist selects the music type and activities most appropriate to the individual patient. (Sometimes music therapy is conducted on a group basis).

What Can It Do For You? Music therapy (MT) has several purposes. MT can alleviate pain and ease psychological distress associated with many medical conditions. It helps improve physical and mental functioning among those with neurologic or developmental disorders. Music therapy can help terminally ill patients decrease anxiety, depression, and pain; improve the ability to sleep; and enhance overall quality of life. It can reduce the need for medication for women during childbirth, and it distracts dental patients from the pain of a root canal. It can improve the ability of mentally challenged and autistic children to learn, and to interact with other people and the environment around them. Elderly patients can experience improved well-being, including those suffering from dementia.

Where to Get It: Check out musictherapyworld.de; music therapy.ca/en (Canada); austmta.org.au (Australia); and music therapy.org (USA).

My Take: Music therapy is especially desirable because, for most people, it is an intrinsically pleasant, soothing experience. Few know about its value. So now you do! If you have cancer or conditions such as those listed above, check it out. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter (and I will get some points here, as my wife is a music therapist). I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: awomanshealth.com (Cassileth BD. Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care.

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