Music Therapy Research Review

By Heartspring Staff

Music and sound therapy research, demonstrating the aural effects of music and sound on human health.

Implementation of MP3 player for music therapy on hypertension.

Conf Proc IEEE England Medical Biological Society.Exit Site 2009;1:6444-7. Yu JY, Huang DF, Li Y, Zhang YT. Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, 518067, China.

Hypertension is a common clinical disease and a major risk to human health. Many clinical findings indicate that certain types of music can reduce blood pressure (BP), and music therapy is considered as an important part of anti-hypertension treatment. We integrate our former related research achievement into the new MP3 player, which can also detect the current BP value with a cuffless measurement method. According to the current BP value, the MP3 player selects certain types of music for playing in order to alleviate the hypertension of patients.
PMID:19964429

Effects of music on crying behavior of infants and toddlers during physical therapy intervention.

Pediatric Physical Therapy.Exit Site 2009 Winter;21(4):325-35. Rahlin M, Stefani J. Department of Physical Therapy (M.R.), Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, Illinois, USA.

PURPOSE: This study was designed to investigate the effects of music on the amount of time that infants and toddlers cried during physical therapy sessions. METHODS: An A-B-A withdrawal multiple single-subject design was used with 9 infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental disabilities. Music was played during therapy in the intervention period but not in the baseline periods. The number of minutes that the participants cried was documented in a Crying Log. Results were analyzed using a celeration line approach and descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Responses to music varied among the participants, with 6 of 9 children crying less when music was used during therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental disabilities may benefit from the use of music during physical therapy to reduce crying. Effects of music on other aspects of infant and toddler behavior need to be studied. PMID:19923973

The spiritual meaning of pre-loss music therapy to bereaved caregivers of advanced cancer patients.

Palliative & Supportive Care.Exit Site 2009 Mar;7(1):97-108. Magill L. University of Windsor, School of Music, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to learn how music therapy sessions, held prior to the death of a loved one, impact spirituality in surviving caregivers of advanced cancer patients. METHOD: The method of naturalistic inquiry was used to investigate the spiritual meaning of pre-loss music therapy sessions. Bereaved caregivers of seven different patients, who had been receiving music therapy through a home-based hospice program, participated in individual open-ended interviews. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded. Themes were organized as they emerged. RESULTS: As caregivers reflected on their experiences in music therapy, they reported autonomous joy (music therapy affected the caregiver directly) and empathic joy (caregivers' joy was based in remembering seeing the patient happy in music therapy). They also noted feelings of empowerment due to the ways they felt they had contributed in the care of the patients through music therapy. The caregivers were found to engage in processes of reflection that inspired these spiritual themes: reflection on the present (connectedness), reflection on the past (remembrance), and reflection on the future (hope). They referred to the ways that the music therapy sessions helped them find connection with self, others (through bringing their loved ones "back to life" and have a "renewal of self"), and the "beyond"; and that times in music therapy brought them happy memories and sentiments of hope. Meaning through transcendence was found to be the overarching trend in this study, as caregivers were lifted from remorse into heightened sense of meaning and gained "airplane views" of their lives. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Pre-loss music therapy can potentially assist caregivers during times of bereavement, as they retain memories of joy and empowerment, rather than memories of pain and distress, and find meaning through transcendence. PMID:19619379

Effect of music therapy on oncologic staff bystanders: a substantive grounded theory.

Palliative & Supportive Care.Exit Site 2009 Jun;7(2):219-28. O'Callaghan C, Magill L. Social Work Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Victoria, Australia.

OBJECTIVE: Oncologic work can be satisfying but also stressful, as staff support patients and families through harsh treatment effects, uncertain illness trajectories, and occasional death. Although formal support programs are available, no research on the effects of staff witnessing patients' supportive therapies exists. This research examines staff responses to witnessing patient-focused music therapy (MT) programs in two comprehensive cancer centers. METHOD: In Study 1, staff were invited to anonymously complete an open-ended questionnaire asking about the relevance of a music therapy program for patients and visitors (what it does; whether it helps). In Study 2, staff were theoretically sampled and interviewed regarding the personal effects of witnessing patient-centered music therapy. Data from each study were comparatively analyzed according to grounded theory procedures. Positive and negative cases were evident and data saturation arguably achieved. RESULTS: In Study 1, 38 staff unexpectedly described personally helpful emotional, cognitive, and team effects and consequent improved patient care. In Study 2, 62 staff described 197 multiple personal benefits and elicited patient care improvements. Respondents were mostly nursing (57) and medical (13) staff. Only three intrusive effects were reported: audibility, initial suspicion, and relaxation causing slowing of work pace. A substantive grounded theory emerged applicable to the two cancer centers: Staff witnessing MT can experience personally helpful emotions, moods, self-awarenesses, and teamwork and thus perceive improved patient care. Intrusive effects are uncommon. Music therapy's benefits for staff are attributed to the presence of live music, the human presence of the music therapist, and the observed positive effects in patients and families. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Patient-centered oncologic music therapy in two cancer centers is an incidental supportive care modality for staff, which can reduce their stress and improve work environments and perceived patient care. Further investigation of the incidental benefits for oncologic staff witnessing patient-centered MT, through interpretive and positivist measures, is warranted. PMID:19538805

The effects of music listening on inconsolable crying in premature infants.

Journal of Music TherapyExit Site 2009 Fall;46(3):191-203. Keith DR, Russell K, Weaver BS. Georgia College and State University.

Over the decades, medical staff have developed strategies to manage crying episodes of the critically ill and convalescing premature infant. These episodes of crying occur frequently after infants are removed from ventilation, but before they are able to receive nutrition orally. Not only are these episodes stressful to infants and upsetting to parents, but they are also stressful and time consuming for the staff that take care of these patients. Although the literature supports the benefits of music therapy in regard to physiological and certain behavioral measures with premature infants, no research exists that explores the use of music therapy with inconsolability related to the "nothing by mouth" status. This study explored the effects of music therapy on the crying behaviors of critically ill infants classified as inconsolable. Twenty-four premature infants with gestational age 32-40 weeks received a developmentally appropriate music listening intervention, alternating with days on which no intervention was provided. The results revealed a significant reduction in the frequency and duration of episodes of inconsolable crying as a result of the music intervention, as well as improved physiological measures including heart rate, respiration rate, oxygen saturation, and mean arterial pressure. Findings suggest the viability of using recorded music in the absence of a music therapist or the maternal voice to console infants when standard nursing interventions are not effective. PMID:19757875

Music therapy to relieve anxiety in pregnant women on bedrest: a randomized, controlled trial.

MCN American Journal of Maternal Child NursingExit Site 2009 Sep-Oct;34(5):316-23. Yang M, Li L, Zhu H, Alexander IM, Liu S, Zhou W, Ren X. The Mental Health Institute, the Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha Hunan, China.

PURPOSE: To explore the effect of music therapy on anxiety alleviation for antepartal women on bedrest in China. DESIGN AND METHODS: One hundred and twenty patients recruited from one tertiary hospital in Changsha city, China were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. Women in the experimental group received music therapy for 30 minutes on 3 consecutive days. Usual care participants had a 30-minute rest on 3 consecutive days. Variables included anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), and physiological responses (vital signs, fetal heart rate). Descriptive statistics, t tests, chi tests, Wilcoxon rank sum tests, and Pearson correlation analyses were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: Anxiety levels decreased and physiological responses improved significantly in the intervention group, which was provided with music therapy while on bedrest. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Carefully selected music that incorporates a patient's own preferences may offer an inexpensive and effective method to reduce anxiety for antepartal women with high risk pregnancies who are on bedrest. PMID:19713801

Therapeutic role of music listening in stroke rehabilitation.

Annals of the New York Academy of SciencesExit Site 2009 Jul;1169:426-30. Forsblom A, Laitinen S, Särkämö T, Tervaniemi M. Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. We performed two parallel interview studies of stroke patients (n= 20) and professional nurses (n= 5) to gain more insight into the therapeutic role of music listening in stroke rehabilitation. Results suggest that music listening can be used to relax, improve mood, and provide both physical and mental activation during the early stages of recovery from stroke. Thus, music listening could provide a useful clinical tool in stroke rehabilitation. PMID:19673818

Music programs designed to remedy burnout symptoms show significant effects after five weeks.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2009 Jul;1169:422-5. Brandes V, Terris DD, Fischer C, Schuessler MN, Ottowitz G, Titscher G, Fischer JE, Thayer JF. Research Program MusicMedicine, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria.

Earlier studies have demonstrated that music interventions can lessen symptoms of depression. Depression and burnout are closely related. We hypothesized that specially designed receptive music therapy programs and protocols might reduce the symptoms of burnout. In a four-arm randomized, placebo and waiting list controlled double blind study, including 150 participants, two specific music programs significantly reduced burnout symptoms after 5 weeks. The effects were maintained over a long time period. This newly developed method of receptive music therapy was also evaluated for the treatment of depression and dysthymia, with significant outcomes. PMID:19673817

Effects of a music therapy strategy on depressed older adults.

Journal of GerontologyExit Site 1994 Nov;49(6):P265-9. Hanser SB, Thompson LW. Stanford University School of Medicine.

A music-facilitated psychoeducational strategy was developed as a cost-effective and accessible intervention for older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, distress, and anxiety. Thirty older adults who had been diagnosed with major or minor depressive disorder were randomly assigned to one of three 8-week conditions: (1) a home-based program where participants learned music listening stress reduction techniques at weekly home visits by a music therapist; (2) a self-administered program where participants applied these same techniques with moderate therapist intervention (a weekly telephone call); or (3) a wait list control. Participants in both music conditions performed significantly better than the controls on standardized tests of depression, distress, self-esteem, and mood. These improvements were clinically significant and maintained over a 9-month follow-up period. The potential for this type of intervention with homebound elders and others who have limited access to services is discussed. PMID:7963281

Exploring the effects of music therapy on pediatric pain: phase 1.

Journal of Music TherapyExit Site 2007 Fall;44(3):217-41. Whitehead-Pleaux AM, Zebrowski N, Baryza MJ, Sheridan RL. Shrines Burns Hospital-Boston, USA.

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of music therapy on pain and anxiety in pediatric burn patients during nursing procedures. Nine subjects were randomly selected to participate in this study. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected on the patients' pain, anxiety, heart rate, blood oxygenation, and engagement level through measurement tools and interviews. The results from the qualitative and quantitative data indicated that music therapy reduced pain, anxiety, and behavioral distress. The quantitative data were analyzed and an inverse relationship between engagement in music therapy and lower behavioral distress scores was noted. Additionally, a linear relationship between engagement and behavioral distress was noted; significance was found but was moderated by the age of the child. However, no significant relationship was found between heart rate and behavioral distress. The results from the qualitative data from the interviews with the patients, parents, nurses and music therapist indicated that music therapy reduced pain and anxiety, and that engagement in music therapy enhanced relaxation. In addition, music therapy positively affected patients' mood, compliance, and the relaxation level. Finally, parents/guardians and nurses involved in the study reported that music therapy helped them to feel more relaxed as well. PMID:17645386

Harmonic sounds: complementary medicine for the critically ill.

British Journal of NursingExit Site 2004 Dec 9-2005 Jan 12;13(22):1321-4. Cardozo M. Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, UK.

Anxiety is a common phenomenon among hospitalized patients, and over the past few decades there has been a growing interest in using music as an anxiolytic agent on patients in intensive care undergoing ventilation. Critically ill patients experience both anxiety and pain related to their illness and injury, but the implementation of music can help provide a supportive role for relief of symptoms that interfere with the healing process. This article aims to review music therapy as an aid to reducing anxiety and pain levels within an intensive care unit setting. By observing the literature, music therapy as a non-pharmacological intervention will be discussed and the benefit of promoting a healing environment for patients will be addressed. PMID:15687896

Effectiveness of a music therapy intervention on relaxation and anxiety for patients receiving ventilatory assistance.

Heart and LungExit Site 1998 May-Jun;27(3):169-76. Chlan L. University of Iowa, College of Nursing, Iowa City 52242, USA. Comment in: * Heart Lung. 1999 Jan-Feb;28(1):79-80. * Heart Lung. 2001 Mar-Apr;30(2):166.

OBJECTIVE: To test the effects of music therapy on relaxation and anxiety reduction for patients receiving ventilatory assistance. DESIGN: Two-group, pretest-posttest experimental design with repeated measures. Subjects randomized to either a 30-minute music condition or a rest period. SETTING: Four urban midwestern intensive care units. SUBJECTS: Fifty-four alert, nonsedated patients receiving mechanical ventilation. OUTCOME MEASURES: State anxiety (pretest and posttest), heart rate, and respiratory rate obtained every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. RESULTS: Subjects who received music therapy reported significantly less anxiety posttest (10.1) than those subjects in the control group (16.2). Heart rate and respiratory rate decreased over time for those subjects in the music group as compared with the control group subjects. CONCLUSIONS: A single music therapy session was found to be effective for decreasing anxiety and promoting relaxation, as indicated by decreases in heart rate and respiratory rate over the intervention period with this sample of patients receiving ventilatory assistance.

Music and its effect on the physiological responses and anxiety levels of patients receiving mechanical ventilation: a pilot study.

Journal of Clinical NursingExit Site 2005 May;14(5):609-20. Lee OK, Chung YF, Chan MF, Chan WM. Intensive Care Unit, Yan Chai Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of music on the anxiety of patients on mechanical ventilation, as assessed by objective parameters and a subjective validated anxiety scale. BACKGROUND: Mechanical ventilation, although sometimes lifesaving, is often associated with levels of anxiety requiring sedatives, which has inevitable implications on costs and complications. DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial design. METHODS: A total of 64 subjects was randomly assigned to undergo either 30 minutes of music intervention or a rest period. The subjects were asked to answer the Chinese State Trait Anxiety Inventory scale before and after the study period and physiological indices and resting behaviours were recorded before and after the study period in both groups. The subjects' satisfaction with music was also obtained after music intervention. RESULTS: The findings indicate that patients on mechanical ventilation that listened to a single 30-minute session of music appeared to show greater relaxation as manifested by a decrease in physiological indices and an increase in comfortable resting behaviours. CONCLUSION: Music can provide an effective method of reducing potentially harmful physiological responses arising from anxiety in mechanically ventilated patients. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: As indicated by the results of this study, music therapy can act as a simple and safe nursing intervention to allay anxiety and promote patient comfort. Interest and comments on music therapy provided as a relaxation technique should be elicited from both nurses and patients. PMID:15840076

Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients.

Cochrane Database Systematic ReviewsExit Site 2009 Apr 15;(2):CD006577. Bradt J, Dileo C. Arts and Quality of Life Research Center, Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University, Presser Hall, 2001 North 13 Street, Philadelphia, USA.

BACKGROUND: Individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD) often suffer from severe distress putting them at greater risk for complications. Music interventions have been used to reduce anxiety and distress and improve physiological functioning in medical patients, however its efficacy for CHD patients needs to be evaluated. OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of music interventions with standard care versus standard care alone on psychological and physiological responses in persons with CHD. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PSYCINFO, LILACS, Science Citation Index, www.musictherapyworld.net, CAIRSS for Music, Proquest Digital Dissertations, ClinicalTrials.gov, Current Controlled Trials, and the National Research Register (all to May 2008). We handsearched music therapy journals and reference lists, and contacted relevant experts to identify unpublished manuscripts. There was no language restriction. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included all randomized controlled trials that compared music interventions and standard care with standard care alone for persons with CHD. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data were extracted, and methodological quality was assessed, independently by the two reviewers. Additional information was sought from the trial researchers when necessary. Results are presented using weighted mean differences for outcomes measured by the same scale and standardized mean differences for outcomes measured by different scales. Posttest scores were used. In cases of significant baseline difference, we used change scores. MAIN RESULTS: Twenty-three trials (1461 participants) were included. Music listening was the main intervention used, and 21 of the studies did not include a trained music therapist. Results indicated that music listening has a moderate effect on anxiety in patients with CHD, however results were inconsistent across studies. This review did not find strong evidence for reduction of psychological distress. Findings indicated that listening to music reduces heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Studies that included two or more music sessions led to a small and consistent pain-reducing effect. No strong evidence was found for peripheral skin temperature. None of the studies considered hormone levels and only one study considered quality of life as an outcome variable. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Music listening may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and pain in persons with CHD. However, the quality of the evidence is not strong and the clinical significance unclear. Most studies examined the effects of listening to pre-recorded music. More research is needed on the effects of music offered by a trained music therapist. PMID:19370642

Sound TherapyResources

Journal of Music TherapyExit Site

Music Therapy AssociationExit Site

Music Therapy and Language for the Autistic ChildExit Site




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Heartspring Staff are assistants of board reviewed doctors that are medical editors, authors, and reviewers, providing oversight for Heartspring.net. This article is currently undergoing doctor reveiw.




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