Adding Music Therapy to Your Treatment

July 26, 2019

When someone is diagnosed with a brain tumor, the initial next steps include determining a treatment plan. The standard of care for a brain tumor may include more clinical treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Additionally, patients may need to go through a variety of other therapies, including physical therapy or speech therapy directed at assisting the patient’s day to day functionality. One option patients may not automatically consider is music therapy.

Music therapy was formally introduced into Western medicine in the 1950s and is a less common type of therapy. However, it can assist in managing side effects of diagnosis and treatment such as anxiety, nausea, stress, and depression. According to an article published by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, “When used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments, music therapy has been found to help reduce pain and discomfort; improve mood and diminish stress; increase quality of life; and allow patients to better communicate their fears, sadness or other feelings.”

When working with a music therapist, there are two forms of therapy in which to participate: active or receptive.

Active therapy is more physically engaging and encourages patients to sing and play instruments. A therapist may have you sing about your most recent doctor’s appointment or play a percussion instrument while talking about your last chemotherapy treatment.

Receptive therapy is simply listening to recorded or live music and uses the therapeutic aspects of music to assist with the side effects of treatment.

Whether you were recently diagnosed, are currently going through treatment, or are a survivor, music therapy can be beneficial in all stages of your brain cancer journey. Music therapy can also be helpful for caregivers, family, and friends needing to find a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression.

You can find a qualified Music Therapist through the American Music Therapy Association’s directory.

Sources: National Center for Biotechnology Information, The ASCO Post, MD Anderson Cancer Center