gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Music-therapy in oncological settings: Advances in empirical evidence and clinical implementation

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Frank Schulz-Kindermann - Universitätskrankenhaus Hamburg-Eppendorf , Transplantationszentrum – Knochenmarktransplantation, Hamburg, Deutschland
  • Hans-Ulrich Schmidt - Universitätskrankenhaus Hamburg-Eppendorf, Zentrum für Innere Medizin, Poliklinik für Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie, Hamburg
  • Ute Hennings - Universitätskrankenhaus Hamburg-Eppendorf , Transplantationszentrum – Knochenmarktransplantation, Hamburg

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocIS093

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Schulz-Kindermann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Music is a general human experience, deeply linked to individual development. In all stages of mankind it has been used as a tool for expression and creativity but also for intensifying personal well-being. Professional approaches to influence physical states and mood with playing or hearing music, however, look back on a short history of about 50 years and still lack a broad empirical ground. Nevertheless, in the last years there was a growing body of research, specially in the field of oncology. Controlled clinical trials could prove beneficial effects mainly of receptive (relaxing, regulating, palliative) music-therapeutic interventions on acute pain and chronic depressed mood. Effects of active (expressive, functional, improvising) music-therapy seemed to depend more on the personal matching and a thorough preparation before the onset of intervention. Data like these were collected primarily in oncological settings of acute treatment and rehabilitation. Recently several reviews and meta-analyses supported these encouraging findings, but called for a significant increase in controlled research activities. After discussing the adequacy of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and pleading for a pluralistic approach, we will present a taxonomy of methods and aims of music-therapeutic interventions in different settings. Finally we will give a condensed insight into our clinical work with patients in the entire course of high-dose therapy and stem cell transplantation, which is part of our integrative model of psychosocial support.