[From the American Cancer Society Library]
Music has been used in medicine for thousands of years. Ancient Greek philosophers believed that music could heal both the body and the soul. Native Americans have used singing and chanting as part of their healing rituals for millennia.. The more formal approach to music therapy began in World War II when US Veterans Administration hospitals began to use music to help treat soldiers suffering from shell shock.
Music therapy is often used in cancer treatment to help reduce pain, anxiety, and nausea caused by chemotherapy. Some people believe music therapy may enhance the health care of pediatric oncology patients by promoting social interaction and cooperation.
There is evidence that music therapy can reduce high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, depression, and sleeplessness. There are no claims music therapy can cure cancer or other diseases, but medical experts do believe it can reduce some symptoms, aid healing, improve physical movement, and enrich a patient's quality of life.Cancer patient Gisele Bigras, who is being treated at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and participates in their Music Therapy program says, "Music has always played a huge part in my life. Music therapy helped me focus on something else other than the traumatic events of the cancer diagnosis, and just forget for an hour or so, to just go into a different world for a little bit."