A Synopsis of music based interventions in MusicMedicine: Definitions, standards, research, applications, with special emphasis on anxiety, pain and stress


  • Ralph Spintge




music based interventions, MusicMedicine, anxiety, pain


MusicMedicine describes the use of medicofunctional music, today called music-based interventions, promoting therapeutic benefits in medical settings based on scientific evidence. In prevention, therapy, rehabilitation, health promotion, performance enhancement, behavioral management and many other settings its benefits may at the same time contribute to cost containment. Established standards in education, research, and application secure reliability, validity and reproducibility of methods, concepts, results and therapeutic effects. Such standards include definition of intervening variables such as the musical stimuli used, as well as contributing or interfering variables, such as specific clinical settings or sociocultural background. Wherever possible, studies and therapeutic regimes should include music therapists. Traditionally, educated doctors know much about medicine, and might be fond of music, but usually have no music therapeutic expertise.  At the same time, research in MusicMedicine demands interdisciplinary and multimodal approaches using mixed-methods design with thorough biostatistical design and analysis. Since 1982, MusicMedicine as inaugurated by the International Society for Music in Medicine ISMM e.V. has bridged together music therapy and traditional medical science orientations, leading towards a solid partnership that is influencing today’s practice of integrative medicine. Publications of studies about music-based medical interventions should preferably include an audio-file of the music used in the conducted session.