Conclusions changed for music therapy – Cochrane Review

Having heard about Cochrane reviews, and knowing how respected they are, I was intrigued to see a Cochrane Review tagged “Conclusions changed” and entitled Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients.

With the growing body of research, it appears music therapy is now recommended for inclusion in cancer care, compared to a few years ago.

From 2016:

We conclude that music interventions may have beneficial effects on anxiety, pain, fatigue and quality of life (QoL) in people with cancer. Furthermore, music may have a small positive effect on heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Reduction of anxiety, fatigue and pain are important outcomes for people with cancer, as they have an impact on health and overall QoL. Therefore, we recommend considering the inclusion of music therapy and music medicine interventions in psychosocial cancer care.

From 2011:

This systematic review indicates that music interventions may have beneficial effects on anxiety, pain, mood, and QoL in people with cancer. Furthermore, music may have a small effect on heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Most trials were at high risk of bias and, therefore, these results need to be interpreted with caution.

Interestingly, the review also compared “music therapy” with “music medicine”, their term for listening to pre-recorded music, offered by medical staff:

A comparison between music therapy and music medicine interventions suggests a moderate effect of music therapy interventions for patients’ quality of life (QoL), but we found no evidence of an effect for music medicine interventions.

So, plenty to think about here, and plenty to read further online