Music Therapy as Cancer Treatment: Is This Possible?

Music has always been a part of people’s lives, from the singing rituals of our ancestors to the popular music culture we have at present. People’s creativity is indeed limitless, and for the last couple of years, the notion of using music as a form of cancer treatment has been making a buzz in the medical world.

Today’s article tackles how music can help cancer patients. Is this really possible? How exactly does this kind of therapy works? Let’s dig deeper and unravel the magical effects of music in treating one of the world’s most terminal diseases.

Music Therapy Overview

Music therapy is a unique kind of treatment which uses music and sound to help, assist, treat, and comfort the patients. This therapy is known to be a popular treatment in psychology and stress-related cases.

  • How does music act as a therapy?

Music helps people express an idea and cope with their problems and troubles. In turn, it promotes both physical and emotional well-being. Music therapy also helps us develop self-confidence and helps us relieve stress.

  • What to expect from music therapy?

If you aren’t musically inclined and are worried that this kind of therapy is not for you, then you couldn’t be more wrong. You don’t have to be into music for this sort of therapy to work. In a music therapy session, how music can help cancer patients are through the following:

1)    Sing a song

2)    Listen to Music

3)    Reflect on the song’s lyrics

4)    Create your own music using an instrument

5)    Write songs

6)    Dance to music

Music Therapy as Cancer Treatment

Music Therapy and Cancer

Music therapy can be traced back throughout the history. In fact, it was in the 1940s that our ancestors started using it formally. Music was believed to heal the body and soul according to the old tradition of the Greeks. A lot of Asian tribes used to sing and chant as part of their healing rituals. With this in mind, we cannot deny the fact that music has strong ties to people’s cultures and traditions.

At present, music therapy gives people absolute pleasure and promotes relaxation. Music has the ability to manage stress and promote wellness; hence, why it is incorporated in most cancer treatments. Because most cancer patients are usually under a lot of stress from dealing with their illness, they need all the help they could get to relieve their stress in a pleasurable way.

Music therapy is not the cure itself; rather it enhances the treatment and improves the life of the patient. Professionals believe that if the patient is under a lot of stress, his body may not respond well to the medical treatment, and this can seriously affect the progress of the disease. Incorporating music as part of the treatment helps the patient’s body to be prepared for the medications and the side effects.


Music and Patient’s Anxiety Level

Back in 2003, a study was conducted on how music can help cancer patients who’ve undergone chemotherapy. This study was conducted by Cassileth and his colleagues, and one of their findings is that about 28% of the patients have shown reduced anxiety. One of the side effects of undergoing chemotherapy is the high anxiety level of the patients. If a patient is in denial about his illness, he may have a severe case of anxiety level and depression.

In psychology, anxiety is a feeling that often surfaces if our ego feels threatened. According to Freud, to conquer this feeling, most people will face a series of defense mechanism. One of which is denial; it is a kind of defense mechanism of the human at an unconscious level. It serves as a signal that directs us to survive and ward off that unpleasant feeling. However, not many people are good at handling anxiety, so much more the cancer patients.

Music therapy can be an avenue for these patients to self-acceptance and express their feelings. While some are not fully convinced with the effect music can give to the cancer patients; there are some studies that also support its effectiveness regarding emotional and physical rehabilitation, as well as the motivation of the patients to engage in treatments.


Music Therapist

Now that we have established how music plays a significant role in improving cancer patient’s condition, we then have to tackle the concerns about professional music therapist.

Are professionals needed for this treatment?

Music therapy, by all means, should be facilitated by a professional. A person can listen to music on his own, but without the proper guidance and processing, the whole point of the therapy is put to waste. Music therapy isn’t just about music and sound per se. It is about how you can use it to provide aid to the patients. Hence, professional care has to be employed.

A music therapist must possess a high level of music skills. By music skills, it means how well the therapist is good at working with music. He or she should know how music works and how to use it fully to improve the patients’ well-being. How music can help cancer patients is a long process that needs proper guidance of the professionals.


Final Thoughts

If you are quite skeptical whether this kind of therapy is an effective one, then you aren’t alone. Apparently, a lot of people have been raising their eyebrows to this concept. So, here are a few pointers that we want to emphasize in this content:

1)    Cancer patients use music therapy as part of their treatment; it is not the entirety or the cure itself.

2)    It targets more on the emotional aspect to help improve the physical well-being of the cancer patients.

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