At the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Shenzhen, in China, researchers studied the effects of music on anxiety and pain during acupuncture treatment in children with cerebral palsy.

First, the details.

  • 60 children were treated with acupuncture.
  • Children listened to their favorite music or a blank disc for 30 minutes.
  • A battery of tests was used to measure changes in pain and anxiety.
  • Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate were also monitored.

And, the results.

  • Anxiety was significantly less in the music group 30 minutes after acupuncture compared to the control group.
    • Anxiety increased during the first minute of acupuncture, and then gradually, but significantly decreased for the next 29 minutes.
  • There were no differences in pain intensity scores between groups.
  • There were significant differences between groups in blood pressure and heart rate, but no differences in the rate of breathing.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Listening to music while receiving acupuncture can relieve anxiety among children with cerebral palsy.”

Here are 2 recent studies that also reported decreased anxiety in children.

Medical and dental procedures

  • Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada
  • Music reduced anxiety and pain in children undergoing medical and dental procedures.

Casting broken bones

  • Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Soft music in the cast room decreased anxiety in young children during placement or removal of a cast on a broken bone.

6/7/09 18:21 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.