“Music therapy is a planned and creative use of music to attain and maintain health and well-being.” The Australian Music Therapy Association
Music affects people in many ways, so how music therapy works is quite varied. It includes activating physiological responses e.g. heart or breathing rates, triggering emotional responses and social interactions or stimulating body movements and cognitive abilities.
In cancer care there is evidence that music therapy can reduce anxiety, reduce patients’ experience of pain and treatment-related symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Music therapists undertake an accredited course of training at a university and work in some health services and private practice.
- Assess individuals to identify abilities and needs.
- Develop goals and objectives that address the individual needs of clients.
- Select and employ appropriate musical techniques, methods and activities (live music, guided relaxation and imagery to music or guided songwriting) and combine them with a well-designed therapeutic process that will achieve the identified aims.
- Regularly evaluate sessions to ensure effective program outcomes.
The way a musical therapist chooses to use music to achieve the therapeutic goal will depend largely on the needs of the individual they are working with.
For more information visit Australian Music Therapy Association www.austmta.org.au
Take time to talk with the doctors and nurses involved in your treatment.
Talk with them about how you are feeling, they may offer suggestions on ways to help you relax or refer you to someone who can.
- Seek medical advice for tension. Sometimes medication can help to control the acute symptoms of severe anxiety. Then you can start to use other methods to relax or sort out your problems effectively.
- Counselling can be an effective method of relieving anxiety and is available from a wide range of health professionals such as psychologists, social workers and nurses.Consider joining a local cancer support group to talk with other people who have been affected by cancer. Many groups also teach relaxation, meditation and problem solving techniques.
- Join a relaxation class. A class may be offered by your local community health centre, psychologists in private practice or at specialist centres.
- Buy a relaxation or meditation CD that you can listen to at home. A wide variety is available through commercial outlets, cancer support groups and health professionals.
- Learn a gentle relaxation exercise such as yoga or tai chi. Yoga, health and fitness and relaxation centres are listed in the Yellow Pages directory.
- Meditation groups and teaching are offered by many religious and secular organisations, cancer support groups and a range of health and welfare professionals.
- Hypnotherapists provide assistance for a wide range of problems. A list of members of the Australian Society of Hypnosis is available on 0430 708 449, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sash.asn.au