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          Thursday, November 23, 2017

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Therapeutic effects of music therapy
at a cancer help center

Since the mid-1980s, music therapy has been a regular feature of the residential program at the internationally renowned Bristol Cancer Help Centre, United Kingdom. Music therapy complements other therapeutic interventions available to residents at the center.

The center conducted an experiment with an objective to compare the therapeutic effects of listening to music in a relaxed state with the active involvement of music improvisation (the playing of tuned and untuned percussion instruments) in a music therapy group setting and to investigate the potential influence of music therapy on positive emotions and the immune system of cancer patients. Twenty-nine cancer patients, aged 21 to 68 years participated in the experiment.

Bristol Cancer Help Centre offers a fully integrated range of complementary therapies, psychological support, spiritual healing, and nutritional and self-help techniques addressing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of cancer patients and their supporters.

In this experiment group music therapy interventions of listening to recorded/live music in a relaxed state and improvisation were employed.

The following outcomes were observed at the end of the experiment:

Increased well-being and relaxation and less tension during the listening experience. Increased well-being and energy and less tension during improvisation. Increased levels of salivary immunoglobulin A and decreased levels of cortisol in both experiences.

Psychological data showed increased well-being and relaxation as well as altered energy levels in both interventions. Physiological data showed increased salivary immunoglobulin A in the listening experience and a decrease in cortisol levels in both interventions over a 2-day period. Preliminary evidence of a link between positive emotions and the immune system of cancer patients was found.

These findings, concluded the study, which link listening to music in a relaxed state and improvisation to alterations in psychological and physiological parameters, may provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of music therapy for cancer patients.
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