Music therapy uses the properties of music – sounds, rhythm, and personal attachment and universality of songs – for psychosocial and spiritual support and to complement other palliative care treatments.
Depression, anger, pain, anxiety, insomnia, nausea/ vomiting, boredom, loneliness, and confusion can be treated with music therapy.
The only contraindication is patient preference; music may unintentionally resurface negative feelings from the past; these can be addressed by working with the music therapist.
It significantly improve the quality-of-life providing:
- A basis for life review
- Means for relating to others
- Distraction from physical pain and discomfort
- Emotional comfort and relief from anxiety
- An enjoyable experience.
- Relief in the last hours of life.
Music therapists receive training in music, behavioral science, and basic medical knowledge. They develop specific treatment goals using techniques that include singing, listening to music, playing instruments, lyric analysis, music-prompted reminiscence, songwriting, improvisation, and guided imagery with music.
Adapted from Rossi B and Arnold R. Music therapy. Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin. Fast facts and concepts #108. Internet. Accessed on February 6, 2018.