Music therapy strikes a chord

According to a recent Cochrane review, music therapy may help people with depression and even improve overall mental health.

Music therapy student playing harp at nursing home.The evidence for music therapy has received a boost with a Systematic Review from the Cochrane Library finding that it may be able to help some patients fight depression and even improve mental health.

A group of Cochrane researchers conducted a search among international evidence to see if there was sufficient evidence on the benefits of music therapy.

They identified five studies that met their criteria.

Four of them reported a greater reduction in symptoms of depression among people who had been given music therapy when compared to those randomly assigned to a different sort of therapy group.

But the fifth study did not find this effect.

“While the evidence came from a few small studies, it suggests that this is an area that is well worth further investigation and, if the use of music therapy is supported by future trials, we need to find out which forms have greatest effect,” said lead author Anna Maratos, an Arts Therapist who works in the Central and Northwest London Foundation NHS Trust, London, UK.

“The current studies indicate that music therapy may be able to improve mood and has low drop-out rates.”

“It is important to note that at the moment there are only a small number of relatively low quality studies in this area, and we will only be able to be confident about the effectiveness of music therapy once some high quality trials have been conducted,” she said.

It is estimated that 121 million people suffer from depression globally and the condition is associated with a million deaths each year.

Photo from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Tags: depression,

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