Drexel University Logo Music soothes the soul – this may not be wrong at all. As per a study conducted by Drexel University scientists, music apparently helps cancer patients reduce anxiety and pain. Sessions with a trained music therapist or just listening to music is touted to enhance mood and overall quality of life.

Such therapies are widely used in various clinical setups. Patients are exposed to music by way of pre-recorded music or therapists involving patients in their musical experiences. This seemingly improves the psychological and physical well-being of individuals. The study is aimed at gauging the benefits of music for cancer patients who went through music therapy sessions.

The study constituted 30 trials that included 1,891 patients. Of which 13 trials made the patients take part in music therapy sessions while the remaining 17 tests offered pre-recorded music. The duration and frequency of exposure to music for participants differed greatly among trials.

The outcomes showed that music seemingly lowered anxiety to a considerable extent as per the clinical anxiety scores, when compared to standard forms of treatment. Reportedly, some trials showed more benefits than others. It also appeared to improve the quality of life in listeners. Some positive aspects related to mood and pain was also seen although it didn’t seem to influence depression. Smaller benefits with respect to heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure were also present.

“The evidence suggests that music interventions may be useful as a complementary treatment to people with cancer. Music interventions provided by trained music therapists as well as listening to pre-recorded music both have shown positive outcomes in this review, but at this time there is not enough evidence to determine if one intervention is more effective than the other,” remarked Dr. Joke Bradt, an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions.

He added that when interventions can’t be concealed from patients, there are chances of bias when they are questioned about subjective steps like anxiety, pain, mood and quality of life. Further trails will explore the effects of music on distress, body image and other aspects.

The study is a part of the Cochrane systematic review led by Dr. Joke Bradt.