What it is
The use of music to improve health and wellbeing. A music therapist helps people engage with different aspects of music.
Why use it
Music therapy can help people express themselves, feel more in control, focus on healing, feel less anxious, and simply enjoy themselves in the moment.
What to expect
You don’t need to be musical to participate or benefit. The structure of the session will depend on the needs of the participants. You may play instruments, sing, or write lyrics, or you may simply listen to music and discuss how it affects you.
Some studies in people with cancer have shown that music therapy can improve anxiety, depression, pain and fatigue.
Suzanne Grant, Senior Acupuncturist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; A/Prof Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice, Monash University, VIC; Mara Lidums, Consumer; Tanya McMillan, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Manager, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Byeongsang Oh, Acupuncturist, University of Sydney and Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, NSW; Sue Suchy, Consumer; Marie Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Prof Anne Williams, Nursing Research Consultant, Centre for Nursing Research, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Chair, Health Research, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment