| Music and Cancer : Can it make a difference?
Since October is National Cancer Awareness month, I thought it would be helpful to devote this issue’s clinical focus to music and cancer. Can music make a difference? Of course, but it is going to be in a quality of life manner, not a cure. One of the greatest benefits of music is simply the comforting effect it has on a patient who is scared, possibly alone, and probably angry. Especially when one is in a hospital, the environment is strange and unfamiliar and usually the caregivers are overworked and not able to comfort and reassure like they might want to do. If a patient can be given a nice set of earphones and a wide choice of CD’s, it can make quite a difference in their mood, at least temporarily.
Dr. Deforia Lane, one of the leading music therapists in our country, did research for her doctoral dissertation on the effect of a 30-minute music therapy session on a person’s immune system. Her research showed a clear link between music therapy and a boost in the immune system. Dr. Lane wisely points out that music therapy is music that is presented by a clinician to a patient. Simply listening to a CD is not music therapy, but what many people call music medicine. Both are valuable.
I believe it is common practice now to have patients listen to music during chemotherapy if they choose. Whether music is being used in the hospital room, the home, or during treatments, it is very important for the patient to listen through headphones. Not only are extraneous noises filtered out, but the music enters the brain directly through the eighth cranial nerve. If music is being played on a television or through speakers in a boombox or radio, it is easy to tune it out, despite the patient wanting to hear it.
The music that will be best is music that the patient has chosen and that calms and soothes her. It doesn’t matter if it’s Enya, the Pachelbel Canon, favorite hymns, or other favorites. The most important thing is that the patient likes it and feels comforted by it. When the person is felling nurtured they will sleep better, eat better and generally be more positive and optimistic.
You can view a wonderful bibliography that Dr. Lane has put together for music and cancer at:
As well, a very important message is given at “Get a Mammogram” by Dottie Burman. Enjoy!
Many of the books and CDs in my
were written or recorded with the intent to promote healing, relaxation and meditation.
The following links are especially useful!
Sacred Sound Current
by Deborah Van Dyke
by Roma Downey
by Steven Halpern
October 15, 2004 “Toning and Chanting with Addictions,” Santa Fe, NM
Call 502-895-7688 for location and cost.
October 27, 2004 First United Methodist Church, Somerset, KY Contact
October 28, 2004 Cumberland Regional Hospital, Somerset, KY Contact
October, 2004 (exact date TBA): “The Healing Power of Music” place TBA
Louisville, KY and West Palm Beach Florida. Call 502-895-7688 for info.
November 1, 2004 “Music as Medicine” Louisville Free Public Library, Crescent Hill Branch, 7 PM Contact Debra Oberhausen
Branch Manager, Crescent Hill Library, 2762 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206 Phone 502-574-1793
November 8, 2004 Kentucky Cancer Program, “Complimentary Cancer Care: Mind, Body and Spirit,” Center for Rural Development, Somerset, KY. Call 502-895-7688 for info.
November 11-15, 2004 Santa Fe, NM, various locations TBA. Call 502-895-7688 for info.
November 25-29, 2004 Sarasota, FL, various locations TBA Call 502-895-7688 for info.
December 2004 (exact date and place TBA) Louisville, KY. “Using Music to Fight
the Holiday Blues,” “Celebrating with Music” and “Music and Anxiety: Neurotransmitters meet the Jitters” Call 502-895-7688 for info.
January 5-10, 2005 National Speakers Association, “Cancun U” in Cancun, Mexico. Call 502-895-7688 for info.
Please check back as there are many pending seminars around the country.
Inquire about savings for your group or association if I am already in your part of the country!
Playing any instrument or singing is always preferable to passive listening in terms of health benefits. It takes no prior training to play many drums and other percussion instruments for fun and enjoyment. If you’re interested in trying a small steel drum, a thumb piano, or a recorder, try an instrument from
Apollo’s Axes. You’ll be glad you did!
How much talent is required for music?
Many people wonder this and the answer is simple: to play for your own pleasure, all you need is the desire to play and enjoy music and a little bit of time and discipline. If you start today, youll be able to play some easy holiday music by December 1st! Give it a try!
Dr. Cash is featured in this interesting Alternative Medicine article by Linda Stahl in the
Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky,
March 11, 2004. Read the article
As always, Dr. Cash will set up workshops in Louisville and surrounding areas at special request
if a minimum of 10-12 people can be assured.
“Using music with the autistic child”
“Music as a Pathway to Higher Power”
“Wellness through Music: Ten Top Tips”
“Music and Childbirth: the Lullaby Project
| Healing Music Services and Products
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Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW
Healing Music Enterprises
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