Cancer-related symptoms such as pain and depression can be reduced with a practice as simple as listening to music or poetry. Tune into Bach or the Beach Boys. Zone out to Longfellow or Angelou. Research shows you’ll feel better.
The science behind the music note-worthy and Wordsworth(y) news
Various studies have explored art therapy as adjuvant treatment for physical and emotional disorders. In this study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, researchers evaluated the effect of passive listening to music and poetry on pain, depression, and hope in participants with cancer. Sixty-five adult patients hospitalized in a cancer facility and experiencing pain took part in the study. Pain evaluation was the primary outcome. Depression and hope evaluations were secondary outcomes. The study authors randomly assigned participants to listen to music (n = 22) or poetry (n = 22) for three days, or to receive no intervention (n = 21). Patients who listened to music experienced improvements in pain (P < 0.001) and depression (P = 0.004); patients who listened to poetry had improvements in pain (P < 0.001), depression (P = 0.001), and hope (P = 0.009). After the study, however, patients in the music and poetry intervention versus control groups only saw improvement in pain (P < 0.001).