Effects of music therapy on health-related outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation: a randomized controlled trial

J Music Ther. Fall 2007;44(3):176-97. doi: 10.1093/jmt/44.3.176.


This study tested effectiveness of music therapy in improving health-related outcomes of cardiac rehabilitation patients. Using a randomized, controlled trial with follow-up, the study was conducted in an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program in Ohio. Sixty-eight of 103 recruited patients, 30 to 80 years of age, completed the protocol through posttreatment. Physiological and psychological outcomes were measured. Cardiac rehabilitation patients were randomly assigned to cardiac rehabilitation only or to music therapy plus cardiac rehabilitation. Music therapy included musical experiences, counseling, and Music-Assisted Relaxation and Imagery. The null hypothesis of no differences in health-related outcomes between cardiac rehabilitation patients who experienced cardiac rehabilitation with and without music therapy was rejected due to changes in systolic blood pressure pre to post-treatment. Interpretation of changes at 4 months posttreatment in anxiety, general health, and social functioning are limited, due to small sample sizes at follow-up. Pre to post-music therapy session improvements were also reported. Findings suggest that some health-related outcomes may be affected positively by participation in music therapy in addition to cardiac rehabilitation. Attrition contributed to limitations in statistical power.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Diseases / psychology
  • Heart Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Ohio
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome