BACKGROUND: The use of music as a healing and stress or pain-relieving strategy has been used in a medical context for centuries. Figures such as Apollo (the ancient Greek god of medicine and music), Aesculapius and Aristotle all advocated for its use in medical therapy, with Aesculapius stating that it could cure illnesses of the mind and body (Howells & Osborn, 1984). Musical therapy was then explored through biblical times and was observed in Native American medicine when the medical team would use chants and dances as a way to heal their patients (Antrim, 1944). Music therapy as the modern world understands it began following World Wars I and II when musicians would travel to hospitals and perform for soldiers who were experiencing physical and emotional trauma following the war (Degme?i?, Požgain & Filakovi?, 2005). In the 21st century, music is used in a clinical setting most commonly to relieve feelings of pain, stress and anxiety in patients and their families. It was found by the American Psychological Association that listening to music increases the production of antibodies and killer cells in the body, which are capable of attacking viruses and boosting the immune system. Furthermore, it causes a decrease in cortisol leaves, one of the body’s stress hormones (Novotney, 2013). Using music as a form of therapy is a non-invasive nursing intervention that can be utilized to control the stress and pain levels of patients (Novotney, 2013). It is well-supported by a number of clinical trials proving the effectiveness of its use, 5 of which will be discussed in this presentation.
The University of Auckland