|Guided Imagery and Music Support during Cancer Treatment|
|Anthony Meadows, PhD MT-BC FAMI LPC|
|Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital|
Music therapy may be used to support your cancer treatment. This guide includes recommendations for music that has been carefully chosen for its supportive qualities. Some CDs incorporate guided imagery and music, while others focus on quiet, soothing music.
These CDs can address the following:
The Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital has a music library that patients can access. If your cancer center does not have a CD library or music therapist, you can use this guide to help you choose music from a music store or your local library. iTunes offers many of the pieces mentioned in this guide for individual purchase, and those readers familiar with iTunes may wish to develop a music listening catalogue that way. In addition, a music therapist can give you guidance regarding selection and use (see below for how to find a therapist in your area).
Types of CDs
There are two categories of CDs in this guide:
Using the CDs
Choosing and listening to a CD is a very personal thing. While these CDs have been carefully chosen for their therapeutic potential, there are a wide range of responses possible for any CD. So, while some patients find guided imagery and music CDs very helpful during treatment, others find it unhelpful; similarly, many patients find listening to music very supportive during treatment, whereas others prefer silence.
If you have not used music, or guided imagery and music during treatment, then you may like to experiment by choosing a number of CDs and listening to the beginning of each. This will give you a sense of the tone and quality of each CD.
Each CD offers a different kind of listening experience. Some CDs provide short (4-7 minutes) pieces that are original compositions or based upon traditional music (e.g. The Water is Wide). Other Cds offer longer tracks (up to 30 minutes) that are based upon classical music (e.g. Pachelbel Canon) or music-imagery combinations that guide your through an imagery experience (e.g. a place in nature).
While the longer tracks tend to offer a deeper, more relaxing listening experience, choose your music according to how you feel now. Consider the following:
While listening to CDs during treatment can be very helpful, there are some limitations. Any CD uses a prescribed imagery script. For some people, this is very helpful, but for others, the script may not match their experience, or imagery preferences. Working directly with the music therapist provides the individual attention and music/imagery development that will best match your needs. The music therapist is also there to discuss your imagery experience with you. This can be very helpful when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Please feel free to discuss this with your nurse if you would like more information about working with the music therapist.
Finding & Scheduling a Session with a Music Therapist
Peace - Daniel Kobialka
Fragments of a Dream - Daniel Kobialka
Timeless Motion - Daniel Kobialka
Dreams beyond Twilight - Daniel Kobialka
Oh What a Beautiful Morning - Daniel Kobialka
Pathless Journey - Daniel Kobialka
World on a String - Daniel Kobialka
Going Home Again - Daniel Kobialka
Guided Imagery and Music
Harmony of Mind and Body - Kobialka and Mandel
Guided Imagery for Stressful Times - Tusek
Guided Imagery for Courage, Strength and Hope - Tusek
Music Journeys (volumes I and II) - - Quitmeyer and Wesley
PM Yoga Meditations - Chiarella
Further Listening Guidelines
Please be aware that you should not drive a vehicle or do anything strenuous immediately after listening to these CDs. When experienced deeply, they induce a deep state of calm and relaxation. It can take some time to move back into a normal waking state of awareness. In doing so, it can be helpful to drink plenty of water, and walk until you feel completely ready to resume your normal activities.
A wide range of materials on music, relaxation and imagery are available online. These are a sample of the materials available. Please note that providing information on these sites is not an endorsement.
Martin Rossman, MD, has written extensively on guided imagery in cancer care. Visit www.sciencedirect.com then search "Martin Rossman". See specifically Guided Imagery in Cancer Care, found in Seminars in Integrative Medicine, volume 2, issue 3, September 2004.
Buying Music/Imagery CDs and downloads
Wonder of Sound offers a number of music listening Cds by Daniel Kobialka, many of which are included in our own listening library
Searching the Web
Search keywords: music and imagery; relaxation scripts; sleep disorders; guided imagery and music
Psych Central provides an introduction to music and imagery. Note the links at the bottom of the first page, offering information on imagery in everyday life and imagery scripts
A link to a number of research articles focused on music therapy in cancer care