When we think of medicine we think of pharmaceutical medications, surgery and other interventions. But can music also be used to heal. According to the American Music Therapy Association, the answer is yes. A paper by Gold et al. (2006) finds this is the case for patients with schizophrenia:
In people hospitalised with schizophrenia, adding music therapy to standard care lead to greater improvement in symptoms compared with standard care alone at 12 weeks (change in PANSS [Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale] total score from baseline: 29.00 with music therapy plus standard care vs 22.96 with standard care alone; p = 0.045).
A study by Chang et al. (2008) found that music therapy reduced stress and depression among pregnant women. Clearly, music therapy will not cure cancer, but adding music could improve patient mental health and indirectly improve receptiveness to more traditional treatments. One pharmacist agrees with this approach as well. A Carnegie Hall program convinced a 23-year old mother of two with HIV to get back on her medications after 3 years off her meds.
To improve your mental health as we go into the weekend, check out this blues classic from Louis Armstrong. Enjoy.