Open-heart surgery patients report anxiety and pain with chair rest despite opioid analgesic use. The effectiveness of non-pharmacological complementary methods (sedative music and scheduled rest) in reducing anxiety and pain during chair rest was tested using a three-group pretest-posttest experimental design with 61 adult postoperative open-heart surgery patients. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 30 min of sedative music (N=19), scheduled rest (N=21), or treatment as usual (N=21) during chair rest. Anxiety, pain sensation, and pain distress were measured with visual analogue scales at chair rest initiation and 30 min later. Repeated measures MANOVA indicated significant group differences in anxiety, pain sensation, and pain distress from pretest to posttest, P<0.001. Univariate repeated measures ANOVA (P< or =0.001) and post hoc dependent t-tests indicated that in the sedative music and scheduled rest groups, anxiety, pain sensation, and pain distress all decreased significantly, P<0.001-0.015; while in the treatment as usual group, no significant differences occurred. Further, independent t-tests indicated significantly less posttest anxiety, pain sensation, and pain distress in the sedative music group than in the scheduled rest or treatment as usual groups (P<0.001-0.006). Thus, in this randomized control trial, sedative music was more effective than scheduled rest and treatment as usual in decreasing anxiety and pain in open-heart surgery patients during first time chair rest. Patients should be encouraged to use sedative music as an adjuvant to medication during chair rest.