It has previously been established within the research community that music and song can lead to reduced levels of stress hormones in children and that stroke patients often find it easier to express themselves through song rather than speech, as well as the fact that music with a clear pulse facilitates movement for patients with Parkinson’s disease. New research findings now show that a methodical use of music for treatment purposes can serve as a soothing function in severe medical treatments and also have an identity-strengthening function in youths with severe psychosocial problems.

Anci Sandell has investigated the effects of music therapy within patients undergoing hospital treatment for psychiatric dysfunction, cancer or dialysis. She has also studied the impact of the therapy on cancer-stricken small children and on youths with severe psychosocial problems. The music therapy has been integrated into the other treatment and has taken place in close interaction between the therapist and the patient. The therapy has been individually adapted and contained both pre-recorded and improvised music, but there have also been elements of painted pictures and texts.

The studies confirmed the music therapy’s positive effects on perceived quality of life, and gave valuable knowledge regarding how the therapy needs to be adapted to each respective target group. Based on the research findings, therapy can be structured and adapted better to various target groups in the future and also to the needs of the individual patient or client.

”It is not surprising that music therapy has proved to have such positive effects. Music can lower the pulse, the blood pressure, and the levels of stress hormones, as well as improve breathing”, Anci Sandell explains. ”Music has been used as a healing power since antiquity, but it is an underused treatment method in modern care. I hope that my research findings will contribute to music therapy having a more significant role in the future.”

Information for editors/journalists:

About Anci Sandell
Anci Sandell, MA, has 35 years’ experience as a music therapist with many different target groups. Her interest in the field awoke when she, as a young and newly educated music teacher, worked with children with autism and realized that the music helped her reach children that had previously been contained within themselves. Om February 22, she will be defending her doctoral thesis called ”Musik för kropp och själ – Modell för interaktiv musikterapi” (”Music for Body and Soul – Model for Interactive Music Therapy”) at the Nordic School of Public Health NHV in Gothenburg, Sweden.

About the Nordic School of Public Health NHV
The Nordic School of Public Health NHV is a Nordic Council of Ministers (NMR) institution for higher education and research within in the area of public health. NHV offers advanced as well as research courses for professionally active people in the Nordic region. Each year, about 300 people are being educated here, whereof approximately 50 are PhD students and 150 are studying a Master’s degree in public health. The Nordic School of Public Health NHV is situated in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Title: Musik för kropp och själ – Modell för interaktiv musikterapi (Music for Body and Soul – Model for Interactive Music Therapy)
Author: Anci Sandell
Telephone: (+46) (0)707-26 97 81 (mobile)
Thesis Supervisor: Professor Anders Möller, Ersta Sköndal högskola, Sweden
Dissertation: February 22, 2013 at 1 p.m.
Address: Fredrik Bloms väg 25, Nya Varvet, Göteborg, Sweden
The thesis can be ordered for 150 SEK excluding postage:

Anci Sandell, MA, Music therapist
Telephone: +46 (0) 707 26 97 81, e-post:

Jenny Haagman Edwards, NHV
Telephone: +46 (0) 31 69 39 62, e-post:

Louise Teurneau, NHV
Telephone: +46 (0) 31 69 39 84, e-post: