Feeling the sound - short-term effect of a vibroacoustic music intervention on well-being and subjectively assessed warmth distribution in cancer patients-A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Med. 2018 Oct:40:171-178. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.03.002. Epub 2018 Mar 3.


Objectives: So far, the effects of vibroacoustic music therapy in cancer patients are unknown. However, used in anthroposophic medicine, it could be an approach to enhance well-being. The goal of this study was to evaluate the immediate effects of a sound-bed music intervention with respect to the subjective well-being as well as body warmth and pain.

Patients and methods: We treated 48 cancer patients with 10 min of sound-bed intervention in a cross-over design. Primary outcome was the total sum of the Basler Mood Questionnaire (BMQ), secondary outcomes were subscales of the BMQ and questions addressing body warmth and pain. The EORTC-QLQ C30 was used as baseline assessment for quality of life (QOL).

Results: Patients had lower QOL values than the EORTC reference samples (p < .001, d = 0.90). The primary outcome increased after music (p < .001, d = 0.47), no changes were seen in the control condition (p = .73, d = 0.04), the time by condition interaction was significant (p < .05).

Secondary outcomes: Increase after music for the BMQ subscales inner balance (p < .001, d = 0.73), vitality (p < .001, d = 0.51) and vigilance (p < .001, d = 0.37) as well as for the additional questions satisfaction (p < .001, d = 0.43), current mood (p < .001, d = 0.43), body warmth (p < .05, d = 0.44) and warmth distribution (p < .01, d = 0.49). No significant changes were seen in pain levels and social extroversion.

Conclusion: Sound-bed intervention improved momentary well-being and caused self-perceived physiological changes associated with relaxation beyond the benefits of simple resting time (control condition). Thus, it might be a promising approach to improve well-being in cancer patients.

Keywords: Anthroposophic medicine; Cancer; Music therapy; Palliative care; Quality of life; Well-being.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthroposophy
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Vibration