Fighting cancer is one of the scariest trials a person can confront. It is physical, but also requires a tremendous amount of mental endurance, emotional strength and the spiritual fortitude. For those diagnosed with cancer, the fear of declining health and anxiety over a potential long road to recovery can further compound symptoms. Thoughts run around the lives of family members, financial issues and the entire process of confronting a disease. This stress and anxiety can further complicate the disease, decreasing the overall well-being of the patient with worry and doubt about the future. The process of taking control of a cancer diagnosis requires strength, will and determination, and even the strongest fighter can use the stress-reducing effects of music therapy.
When music plays, it can touch emotion, bring focus or even help reduce the anxiety surrounding the illness. Benefits of music therapy have been known for years, from pain reduction to stress management, as well as issues with depression or insomnia. Recently, researchers have studied the effects of music on cancer patients, especially the anxiety associated with fighting cancer. These studies have shown that whether the music is pre-recorded or provided by a trained music therapist, a reduction in blood pressure, respiratory rates and anxiety has been documented. In addition, according to Cancer.org, music therapy has also been noted as helping with nausea related to chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients.
The studies that provide insight and information about the effect of music on the mind and body show that even the most basic use of music can be beneficial. Simply listening to a favorite song can help soothe and relax, while more interactive practices like playing a Djembe may provide a deeper release of stress and even help increase the awareness within the body. These activities are not only a path toward wellness, but can also provide a sense of support among family, friends and healthcare providers that wish to help in less medical capacities.
In terms of bravery and courage, cancer patients stand out from the crowd as they fight against such an illness with grace and style. Finding ways for cancer patients to eliminate and process the stress and anxiety associated with a diagnosis can help fortify the resolve and improve the overall medical outcome, or even just make treatments like chemotherapy a little more bearable. Alternative interventions like music therapy help alleviate many of the symptoms of cancer as well as serve as a creative and engaging outlet for stress and anxiety.