Progressive Muscle Relaxation Combined with Chinese Medicine Five-Element Music on Depression for Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Chin J Integr Med. 2018 May;24(5):343-347. doi: 10.1007/s11655-017-2956-0. Epub 2017 May 11.


Objectives: To evaluate the effects of progressive muscle relaxation training (PMRT) combined with fifive elements music therapy of Chinese medicine (CM) for improving anxiety and depression of cancer patients.

Methods: From June 2015 to March 2016, 60 cancer patients were included into the study. The patients were randomly assigned to a control group and a treatment group by envelope randomization, receiving PMRT and PMRT plus CM five elements music therapy, respectively, for 8 weeks. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Benefit Finding Scales (BFS), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual (FACIT-Sp), and Intervention Expectations Questionnaire (IEQU) were adopted to assess the depression of the two groups before and after the treatment.

Results: Four cases dropped out during the study, and 29 cases in the treatment group and 27 in the control group were included in the fifinal analysis. Prior to the treatments, the baselines of the 4 questionnaires in the two groups showed no difference. After the 8-week treatment, the treatment group presented better levels of HADS, BFS and FACIT-Sp scores compared with the control group (P<0.05). Among the single items of HADS, 4 items involving vexation, feeling fifidgeted, pleasure and prospecting the future in the treatment group were improved compared with the control group (P<0.05).

Conclusions: As a simple and reliable and effective intervention, PMRT combined with fifive elements music therapy mitigated anxiety and depression of cancer patients. Cancer patients have been found to respond well to psychological intervention in areas regarding stabilisation of emotions, disease awareness, and therapeutic compliance. This brings about a great difference in improving their quality of life and psychological state, offers an effective approach to better self-management in cancer treatment.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; five elements music of Chinese medicine; progressive muscle relaxation training; randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Autogenic Training*
  • Demography
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires