AbstractDifferent alternatives are used when providing health care in the medical setting. The objective of music therapy is to achieve therapeutic effects coinciding with or without the use of drug therapy. Patients in the hospital setting and at home are utilizing this new wave of therapy. While opening gates for better communication during treatment, it also helps patients better manage their illness, disease, or stressful situation. Primarily, music therapy is used for patients suffering with long-term disabilities such as dementia, in crisis situations that have devastating mental effects, in recovering from surgery, and in the privacy of peoples homes. Heard virtually everywhere, music is viewed as a hobby, means of fun or as an enjoyable leisure activity. Music is used to treat both the human body and mind while simultaneously providing stimulation and entertainment.
The Therapeutic Effects of Music TherapyMusic encompasses a great deal of our everyday lives serving as a form of entertainment.
Music is heard in many places such as in our cars, at parties, as background music, in doctors offices or malls, and in the privacy of our own home. Those same music notes have traveled out of the traditional areas and into the hallways of hospitals and private practices around the country and the world. However, most people are unaware of the medical benefits music therapy has on patients in need. Music therapy has therapeutic effects on patients in and out of the hospital setting. Music therapy is an established health service similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy it is a powerful and non-invasive medium and unique outcomes are possible (Music Therapy and Medicine, 2004). It addresses problems in the physical and psychological aspects of a human being. With this information, private practices, hospitals, and specialized medical units are using this new method of treatment.
Depending on the specialty, there are many associations within the medical field. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is one such association focusing solely on music therapy. The National Association for Music Therapy merged with the American Association for Music Therapy in 1998 to form the AMTA. The main objective of the ATMA is to increase awareness about music therapy and its benefits. The AMTA provides research findings and relevant studies about the practice of music therapy for interested professionals. Knowing there are standardized practices organized by specific associations creates more reliability and trust towards the intended therapy.
Music therapy, as a standardized practice in the medical setting, has become more of an acceptable means of therapy. Patients who have regularly been treated with drug therapy are shown to react the same or better with music therapy. In one article, studies show that music releases endorphins which reduce pain, while decreasing blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption (McCaffrey, 2003). Music therapy also reduces stress and provides relaxation in mind and muscle tension (Music Therapy in Response to Crisis and Trauma, 2004). Some studies indicate that there are positive changes in mood and emotional states as well. The client, knowing positive changes occur during music therapy, will become more compliant with the treatment. According to the AMTA, music therapy provides an opportunity for non-verbal outlets for emotions associated with traumatic experiences (Music Therapy in Response to Crisis and Trauma, 2004).
Various departments within the medical field use music therapy to treat patients. Music is used to alleviate stress in crisis and traumatic situations, though it is not a means to find a cure for these instances. Used to learn positive coping skills and to express feelings, music therapy has helped make a difference in the response to a crisis. During the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, people of all ages with many different ethnic backgrounds all felt the same feelings of terror, fear, loss of security, and in some cases, loss of a loved one. Mainstream America was not aware of the potential benefits of music therapy in this situation until brought to light by The New York City Music Therapy Relief Project. This organization, combined with over 50 years of practice and research in music therapy, has demonstrated the impact it can have as a second wave relief in helping to cope with events surrounding a crisis and its aftermath (Music Therapy, 2004). Having this type of access provides people with a better understanding of the problem and provides them with a means to fix it. People tend to block out the information or stimuli that is causing the trauma during a crisis and events are suppressed deep within the brain helping it and the body cope with this degree of trauma. Music therapy helped to develop a stronger sense of readiness to cope with day-to-day stressors and potential future crisis situations (Music Therapy, 2004).
According to the article Music Therapy in Response to Crisis and Trauma (2004), during an eight month program, seven thousand music therapy interventions were facilitated in schools, senior centers, healthcare facilities and other locations throughout the New York metropolitan area to help with coping. Selected groups of programs were geared towards health care workers, counselors, crisis workers, firemen, and policeman who responded in helping others cope with the event. Therapy sessions were primarily centered on families recovering from the devastating aftermath of September 11, 2001. Music therapy provided an outlet to express raw emotions that may not have been expressed had there not been this valuable tool (Music Therapy, 2004).
Studies have proved music therapy is effective and is a tremendous asset to patients. Doctors or patients questioning the effectiveness should pay close attention to the study showing music therapy versus traditional therapy in the treatment of pain in the article Music Versus Distraction for Procedural Pain and Anxiety in Patients with Cancer. Kwekkeboom (2003) explains, common symptoms of people diagnosed with cancer are pain and anxiety, and while treating this disease, most patients have a difficult time coping. US research has shown listening to music for 20 minutes a day can reduce perceived pain levels (Music Therapy Reduces Pain, 2004, p.37). Thus, patients are often withdrawn from treatment or unable to complete treatment at all (Kwekkeboom, 2003).
A group of sixty people, diagnosed with cancer, were studied to provide the above information. Fifty-eight of the sixty patients surveyed provided usable data. The purpose of the study was to see the effects that music, distractions, and standard treatment had on the levels of pain and anxiety for patients having cancer related medical procedures. Research found that all three factors were equivocal in terms of relieving pain. Patients verbalized they prefer their own means or choices of alleviating pain and anxiety during cancer treatments. Investigators have noted the importance of allowing individuals to choose their own selection of music, as what is interpreted as soothing to one individual, actually may be annoying or distressing to another (Kwekkeboom, 2003, p.434). Even if music therapy does not surpass other methods of relief it is shown to have the same effect, proving that music therapy should be viewed on the same scale as any other treatment used in the medical field.
Further studies have been conducted to see the effectiveness of music therapy on asthma patients. One particular study provided a thirty minute group lesson with instruments including flutes, clarinets, and cornets. The duration of this study lasted eighteen months and each lesson consisted of breathing exercises and games. After the study was completed, breathlessness among the group reduced from 50% to 30%, coughing from 75% to 40%...The use of medication to relieve symptoms has also been reduced (Daniel, 2004, p.5). Conclusive research and findings proved music therapy had beneficial effects on asthma patients.
Adults may experience isolation from home, family, work, school and friends (Music Therapy and Medicine, N.D.) in the hospital setting. According to the psychosocial development of Eric Erikson, young adults between the ages of 20 to 40 years of age focus on commitment to life, work, and relationships (Kozier, Erb, Berman, and Burke, 2000, p.404-405). Being away from those commitments and obligations often cause young adults to sometimes regress and become socially isolated. Patients in the hospital setting are lacking the social environment they benefit most from: home, school, and friends. According to the article Music Therapy and Medicine (N.D.), alleviating some of the added stress can be done through group singing and music making encourages socialization among patients and between patient and family (p.1). Music therapists suggest that people in long-term care should have family and friends make a tape of music for their loved one as a way of being with them when they cannot physically come and visit (Music Therapy and Medicine, N.D.). This way, patients have something specific to remember their loved ones with when they are not physically present. Examples of these feelings can be associated with infants needing their favorite teddy bear because it reminds them of home. Young adults, like infants, need the security and comfort of home and family while in the hospital. Music therapy can provide opportunities for socialization for both inpatients and outpatients (Music Therapy and Medicine, N.D.). Music therapy has positive benefits for the patient as well as the family members and friends who are directly affected by their hospitalization or treatment. Having good communication and socialization while in the hospital will provide a better and more direct route to recovery and a smooth hospital stay.
Music is a valuable tool used for communication giving clients access to language when it can no longer be accessed directly (Music Therapy and Medicine, N.D.). Patients, who suffer from a cerebral vascular accident, or stroke, often acquire difficulty with communication and speech. Most patients suffering from the aforementioned disabilities will often retain the ability to sing. The singing of songs allows an avenue of expression denied to them through the usual verbal means (Music Therapy and Medicine, N.D.). According to DeWeerdt, Dom, Feys, and Van de Winkle, (2004), lyric recall in patients with dementia was excellent in the music sessions versus remembering a short story or event in history during the cognitive activities (p.258). Therefore, listening and singing to music provides an alternated route for expression and communication in this setting as well. When patients gain some sense of independence and communication they may be more cooperative with treatments. This will also reassure the patient there is hope and comfort and not all is lost due to disease or illness.
Nurses play many different roles and accomplish certain tasks to provide patients with the best care possible. The nurses responsibility in music therapy is to make sure the patient attends meetings routinely and to provide emotional support when needed. A nurses primary role is a manager of care. This duty calls for the nurse to achieve a delicate balance between treatment and the organization behind the treatment. The nurse will collaborate with the doctors, other staff members, and the music therapist to incorporate music therapy into the patients care plan. As a manager of care it is the nurses primary responsibility to organize the patients time, so all treatment in this therapy is completed. The nurse will also need to be in contact with the music therapist to notate any significant or miniscule changes that may affect the patient, aiding in therapy. Providing the appropriate information to the patient is also another responsibility as manager of care. As a provider of care, the nurse will incorporate music therapy into daily activities in the patients room and surroundings while providing adequate time to attend music therapy sessions. During their stay in the hospital, the nurse will make special arrangements to have music from the patients home played when appropriate. The nurse will suggest family members and friends be involved in the patients care regarding the therapy. As a member within the discipline, the nurse is to educate themselves with vital information about this particular therapy. In addition, the nurse will use the de-stressing capabilities of music therapy to relax his or herself to better care for patients. Utilizing music therapy in the role of nursing will help lower stress levels and anxiety aiding in the benefits of this therapy.
Once in the nursing field, this researcher plans on incorporating music therapy into his plan of care. Aware of the benefits associated with music therapy, this researcher will apply music therapy as an intervention by suggesting patients utilize this valuable tool to assist them in recovery. As a nurse, this researcher will utilize music therapy as a method to de-stress and relax in the hectic and fast paced working environment of nursing. In the future, this researcher hopes to see more music therapy in the hospital setting.
Looking over the totality of the benefits of music therapy, one can see music is effective both in and out of the hospital setting. In the past, music therapy was not as prevalent as a medical means of treatment. However, today we are seeing music coincide with standard treatments. A nurse is taught many different kinds of parenteral and non-parenteral methods of curing or alleviating pain, anxiety, etc. It is nice to understand and know that in some cases music can be used as an alternative. Knowing the physical benefits, such as decreased blood pressure and respiratory rate, the nurse will be more inclined to utilize this form of therapy. In the hospital setting, there are many different therapies, treatments, and staff members; if music therapy is incorporated into a patients treatment, the patients recovery will be better overall.
ReferencesDaniel, L. (2004). Music Therapy for Asthma Patients [Electronic Version]. Practice Nurse, 27(5), 5. Retrieved October 30, 2007, from EBSCOhost Database.
DeWeerdt, W., Dom, R., Feys, H., Van de Winkle, A. (2004). Cognitive and behavioral effects of music-based exercises in patients with dementia [Electronic Version]. Clinical Rehabilitation, 18, 253-260. Retrieved October 30, 2007, from EBSCOhost Database.
Kozier, B., Erb, G., Berman, A. and Burke, K. (2000). Fundamentals of Nursing (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Chapter 24.
Kwekkeboom, K. L. (2003). Music versus distraction for procedural pain and anxiety in cancer patients. Oncology Nursing Forum, 30, 433-440.
McCaffrey, R. (2003). U.S. research shows that music therapy can significantly reduce chronic pain [Electronic Version]. Blackwell Nursing. Retrieved November 1, 2007, from http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/nursing/news/news.asp?id=49Music Therapy and Medicine. (N.D.) [Electronic Version]. Retrieved October 30, 2007, from http://homepage.eircom.net/~musictherapy/medicine.htmlMusic Therapy in Response to Crisis and Trauma (2002). Retrieved November 1, 2007, from http://www.musictherapy.org/factsheets/medicine.htmlMusic Therapy Reduces Pain (2004). [Electronic Version]. Australian Nursing Journal, 11 (1), 37. Retrieved November 1, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.