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Music Therapy Helps with Anxiety, Pain, Nausea in Transplant Patients

03 Apr

Researchers from the University of Minnesota looked at the impact of music therapy on relaxation, anxiety, pain and nausea in recovering organ transplant recipients, using a pre-test/post-test design.

Fifty-eight patients received an individual 15-35 minute music therapy session consisting of live patient-preferred music and therapeutic social interaction. To remain consistent with the hospital's evaluative instruments during this pilot study, participants' self-reported levels of anxiety, relaxation, pain, and nausea, were based on separate 10-point Likert-type scales.

The principal investigator observed affect and verbalizations at pre and posttest. Results indicated there were significant improvements in self-reported levels of relaxation, anxiety (both p < .001), pain (p < .01), and nausea (p < .05). Although there was no reliability measure, there were significant increases in positive verbalizations and positive affect (p < .001).
All participants reported that they would desire music therapy again during a future long-term hospital stay. From the results of this exploratory study, it seems that music therapy can be a viable psychosocial intervention for hospitalized postoperative solid transplant patients. Implications for clinical practice and suggestions for future research are provided.

Citation:  Madson AT, Silverman MJ. The effect of music therapy on relaxation, anxiety, pain perception, and nausea in adult solid organ transplant patients. Journal of Music Therapy. 2010 Fall;47 (3): pp. 220-32.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award