Music Therapy

You can trust music to instantly change the mood. This quality of music plays a crucial role in lives of people dealing with cancer. Yes, music has been recognised as a therapy that can help one deal with cancer.

The way music is structured, its non-verbal qualities intact, it manages to touch deep at the emotional level. It’s this penetration of music that can be used in therapy to alleviate pain caused by cancer and chemotherapy. Here, it is necessary to understand that along with cancer comes a range of emotions that cause stress. Music helps in dissipating this stress by changing the mood.

Music therapy can be active and receptive. In active music therapy, patients take part in the experience, sharing their feelings and being open about the effect the music is having on them. It usually takes place during a live performance. In the receptive music therapy, patients just sit and listen to a recording, relaxing, without actively taking part in the experience. They just receive the positive vibes.

Music Therapy and Cancer

When practised in a group, music therapy can pull cancer patients out of isolation. This allows them to open-up to others around them. It increases a feeling of well-being, camaraderie and bonding. When played in an hospital setting, music therapy helps patients in expressing their state of mind. Usually, the hospital becomes the place of emotional chaos and grief where nothing is certain. Dealing with changing family dynamics and responsibilities gets challenging then. Introducing music in such a setting helps ease out the stress by tweaking the mood.

Music therapy may include playing instruments, vocal and instrumental improvisation, singing, composing, music-guided imagery and listening to music. The goal is usually to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. Music interventions may affect anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain and quality of life in cancer patients, with small impacts on heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. Music therapy is considered safe.


  1. Credit: Beyond Conventional Care Therapies
  2. Integrative Oncology Cancer Care
  3. Music therapy in supportive cancer care 
  4. Music therapy: Mind-Body Intervention 

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