This study is the first controlled research study undertaken in the early phase of rehabilitation after
cardiac surgery investigating the effect of a receptive music therapy method. Various forms of
music therapy interventions including both active and receptive methods were reported to be
significantly more effective than music treatment with music medicine. Music listening and
receptive music therapy (such as Guided Imagery and Music) have been proposed to help patients
both before heart surgery and during the recovery phase. This study therefore intended to explore
both a music therapy and a music medicine intervention. Guided Relaxation with Music was
considered potentially helpful for post operative cardiac patients in order to induce relaxation and
facilitate recovery involving listening to relaxing music as a background while systematically
guiding patients through a process of bodily relaxation.
Participants were 68 patients (following randomization the operation was cancelled for five of these
participants), age range from 40 to 80 years, who had a heart valve operation as a single procedure,
or as part of a double procedure including a concurrent coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).
The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Guided Relaxation with Music
(GRM), Music Listening (ML), or a control group of rest with No Music (NM). Participants in the
GRM and ML groups chose their preferred music style using four examples from which they could
choose: (1) easy listening, (2) classical, (3) specially composed (MusiCure) and (4) jazz. The
participants were given one session before and three after their operation, while they were still
hospitalized in the heart-lung surgical unit. Each session lasted 35 minutes. Repeated measurements
were made of participants' self-reporting of anxiety, pain and mood before and after surgery. Data
were also collected on length of hospital stay, participants' satisfaction with the hospitalisation, and
on participants' intake of analgesic medication. Participants self-reported through questionnaires on
the importance of rest/ relaxation, music and the guiding procedure. Participants in the GRM and
ML groups prioritized which elements of music and the guiding procedure had an impact on their
benefits of the rest/ relaxation.
There were quite variable results, lacking significance when comparing between groups, at different
time points. Some significant results were found when looking at change over time. During
hospitalization the GRM group reported the importance of their sessions with a higher mean score
than did the other two groups (ML and NM). Participants in both intervention groups, GRM and
ML, prioritized 'melody' and 'tempo' as important elements in choosing their preferred style of
music. Voice quality was of high priority for participants to benefit from the GRM intervention.
Attrition in the study was caused partly by difficulties participants experienced postoperatively in
supplying data before and after treatment.
The sample was relatively small reducing the statistical power. However, the results tend to support
findings from previous studies that have involved interventions with post-operative patients. Future
research should investigate whether GRM would prove beneficial for wider populations. GRM is
non-invasive, relatively economical, and may be an attractive and non-demanding procedure for
patients. In future research the potential of this intervention could be considered as a preventive
therapy to reduce the stress factors that can lead to heart disease.
|Place of Publication||Aalborg|
|Publisher||InDiMedia, Department of Communication, Aalborg University|
|Number of pages||352|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|