Indexed on: 29 Mar '13Published on: 29 Mar '13Published in: Cardiology in review
Music therapy is a service that has become more prevalent as an adjunct to medical practice-as its evidence base expands and music therapists begin to join the cardiology team in every phase of care, from the most serious cases to those maintaining good heart health. Although applications of music medicine, primarily listening to short segments of music, are capable of stabilizing vital signs and managing symptoms in the short-term, music therapy interventions by a qualified practitioner are showing promise in establishing deeper and more lasting impact. On the basis of mind-body approaches, stress/coping models, the neuromatrix theory of pain, and entrainment, music therapy capitalizes on the ability of music to affect the autonomic nervous system. Although only a limited number of randomized controlled trials pinpoint the efficacy of specific music therapy interventions, qualitative research reveals some profound outcomes in certain individuals. A depth of understanding related to the experience of living with a cardiovascular disease can be gained through music therapy approaches such as nonverbal music psychotherapy and guided imagery and music. The multifaceted nature of musical responsiveness contributes to strong individual variability and must be taken into account in the development of research protocols for future music therapy and music medicine interventions. The extant research provides a foundation for exploring the many potential psychosocial, physiological, and spiritual outcomes of a music therapy service for cardiology patients.