Annals of SBV

Register      Login

VOLUME 3 , ISSUE 1 ( Jan-Jun, 2014 ) > List of Articles

Music and Health: An Overview of Music Therapy & Music Medicine

B Sivaprakash, AR Srinivasan

Citation Information : Sivaprakash B, Srinivasan A. Music and Health: An Overview of Music Therapy & Music Medicine. 2014; 3 (1):12-15.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10085-3103

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-08-2019

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2014; The Author(s).


This review attempts to provide a brief overview of the role of music in health and disease. The review starts with a brief introduction to complementary/alternative medicine & mindbody medicine. The differences between music therapy & music medicine are highlighted next. An overview of the effects & clinical applications of music therapy is provided. Numerous randomized controlled trials & systematic reviews have elucidated the clinical benefits of music. Some of the salient published findings are presented in this review. Music therapy is postulated to have beneficial effects on health by reducing negative emotions & stress, inducing mental well-being, & harnessing the power of brain-body information transfer systems (neuroendocrine system, autonomic nervous system and the neuroimmune pathway). Neuroscience research on the brain's processing areas for music has revealed interesting facts. Some of these are described in this review. Experts have emphasized that musical preferences of the patient/client need to be taken into account while planning music therapy. The review ends with a note on the significance of musical characteristics & genre in the context of music therapy and music medicine.

PDF Share
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental health: A report of the Surgeon General - Executive summary. U S Department of Health and Human Services [1999 [cited 2010 Oct. 1]; Available from: URL: http://www.
  2. World health organization. The world health report 2001 - Mental health: New understanding, new hope. Geneva: World health organization; 2001.
  3. Sadock BJ, Sadock VA. Complementary and alternative medicine in psychiatry. In: Sadock BJ, Sadock VA, editors. Kaplan & Sadock's synopsis of psychiatry. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009. 839-856.
  4. National center for complementary and alternative medicine. What is complementary and alternative medicine? National center for complementary and alternative medicine [2010 [cited 2010 Oct. 21]; Available from: URL: http://nccam.nih. gov/health/whatiscam/
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. MeSH. National Center for Biotechnology Information [2010 [cited 2010 Nov. 9]; Available from: URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/mesh
  6. American Music Therapy Association. Music therapy and medicine. American Music Therapy Association [2007 [cited 2007 Sept. 7]; Available from: URL:
  7. Rose J, Bartsch HH. Music as therapy. Karger Gazette 2009; 70:5-7.
  8. Bradt J, Dileo C. Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009;(2):CD006577.
  9. Good M, Albert JM, Anderson GC, Wotman S, Cong X, Lane D et al. Supplementing relaxation and music for pain after surgery. Nurs Res 2010; 59(4):259-269.
  10. Nilsson U, Rawal N, Unosson M. A comparison of intraoperative or postoperative exposure to music--a controlled trial of the effects on postoperative pain. Anaesthesia 2003; 58(7):699-703.
  11. Padmanabhan R, Hildreth AJ, Laws D. A prospective, randomised, controlled study examining binaural beat audio and pre-operative anxiety in patients undergoing general anaesthesia for day case surgery. Anaesthesia 2005; 60(9):874- 877.
  12. Nilsson U. The effect of music intervention in stress response to cardiac surgery in a randomized clinical trial. Heart Lung 2009; 38(3):201-207.
  13. Lepage C, Drolet P, Girard M, Grenier Y, DeGagne R. Music decreases sedative requirements during spinal anesthesia. Anesth Analg 2001; 93(4):912-916.
  14. Szmuk P, Aroyo N, Ezri T, Muzikant G, Weisenberg M, Sessler DI. Listening to music during anesthesia does not reduce the sevoflurane concentration needed to maintain a constant bispectral index. Anesth Analg 2008; 107(1):77-80.
  15. Zhang XW, Fan Y, Manyande A, Tian YK, Yin P. Effects of music on target-controlled infusion of propofol requirements during combined spinal-epidural anaesthesia. Anaesthesia 2005; 60(10):990-994.
  16. Sarkamo T, Tervaniemi M, Laitinen S, Forsblom A, Soinila S, Mikkonen M et al. Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after middle cerebral artery stroke. Brain 2008; 131(Pt 3):866-876.
  17. Puhan MA, Suarez A, Lo CC, Zahn A, Heitz M, Braendli O. Didgeridoo playing as alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2006; 332(7536):266-270.
  18. Lubetzky R, Mimouni FB, Dollberg S, Reifen R, Ashbel G, Mandel D. Effect of music by Mozart on energy expenditure in growing preterm infants. Pediatrics 2010; 125(1):e24-e28.
  19. Wong HL, Lopez-Nahas V, Molassiotis A. Effects of music therapy on anxiety in ventilator-dependent patients. Heart Lung 2001; 30(5):376-387.
  20. Nilsson U. The anxiety- and pain-reducing effects of music interventions: a systematic review. AORN J 2008; 87(4):780-807.
  21. Cepeda MS, Carr DB, Lau J, Alvarez H. Music for pain relief. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006;(2):CD004843.
  22. Bechtold ML, Puli SR, Othman MO, Bartalos CR, Marshall JB, Roy PK. Effect of music on patients undergoing colonoscopy: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Dig Dis Sci 2009; 54(1):19-24.
  23. Maratos AS, Gold C, Wang X, Crawford MJ. Music therapy for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;(1):CD004517.
  24. Gold C, Heldal TO, Dahle T, Wigram T. Music therapy for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005;(2):CD004025.
  25. Wall M, Duffy A. The effects of music therapy for older people with dementia. Br J Nurs 2010; 19(2):108-113.
  26. Koelsch S. A neuroscientific perspective on music therapy. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2009; 1169:374-384.
  27. Koelsch S. Towards a neural basis of music-evoked emotions. Trends Cogn Sci 2010; 14(3):131-137.
  28. Menon V, Levitin DJ. The rewards of music listening: response and physiological connectivity of the mesolimbic system. Neuroimage 2005; 28(1):175-184.
  29. Blood AJ, Zatorre RJ. Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2001; 98(20):11818-11823.
  30. Levitin D. This is your brain on music - Understanding a human obsession. London: Atlantic Books; 2006.
  31. Ortiz JM. Choosing one's music. In: Ortiz JM, editor. The Tao of music. Dublin: Newleaf; 1997. 355-359.
  32. American Music Therapy Association. Frequently asked questions about music therapy. American Music Therapy Association [2010] [cited 2010 Oct. 23]; Available from: URL:
  33. Khalfa S, Schon D, Anton JL, Liegeois-Chauvel C. Brain regions involved in the recognition of happiness and sadness in music. Neuroreport 2005; 16(18):1981-1984.
  34. Suda M, Morimoto K, Obata A, Koizumi H, Maki A. Emotional responses to music: towards scientific perspectives on music therapy. Neuroreport 2008; 19(1):75-78.
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.