Introducing Music Medicine for Gamma Knife

June 7, 2021 Betsy Hartman, Music Therapist

Swedish Cancer Institute’s (SCI) Radiosurgery clinic in collaboration with SCI’s Music Therapy Program is now offering Music Medicine as a non-pharmacologic approach to anxiety and distress management during frame placement for Gamma Knife patients.  

Music Medicine

Music Medicine is the use of pre-recorded music offered by medical personnel for symptom management. At SCI, all Music Medicine tracks are composed and recorded by a board-certified music therapist.

How to Use Music Medicine

During frame placement, Music Medicine tracks will be offered to Gamma Knife patients. The tracks use instrumental harp music and verbal prompts to guide the listener(s) through music assisted breathing, muscle relaxation, and guided imagery exercises.

Benefits of Music Medicine

It is effective, noninvasive, non-pharmacologic, has limited to no negative side effects, and available to all.

Find Out More

If you are interested in using Music Medicine during Gamma Knife treatment, speak with your provider. For more information about Music Therapy or questions regarding Music Medicine contact Betsy Hartman, Music Therapist at or 206-386-6711

Supporting Data and Research

In 2019, Music Therapy partnered with SCI’s Hematology clinic to implement the, Hematology Experience Music Project - Music Medicine for patients undergoing Bone Marrow Biopsy’s.  The feasibility study (n=21) showed positive results in that 57.1% of patients reported a decrease in distress and 71.4% of patients reported a decrease in anxiety.  



•Bradt, J., Potvin, N., Kesslick, A., Shim, M., Radl, D., Schriver, E.,Komarnicky-Kocher, L. T. (2014). The impact of music therapy versus music medicine on psychological outcomes and pain in cancer patients: a mixed methods study. Supportive Care in Cancer, 23(5), 1261–1271. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2478-7

•Rossetti, A., Chadha, M., Lucido, D., Hylton, D., Loewy, J., & Harrison, L. (2014). The Impact of Music Therapy on Anxiety and Distress in Patients Undergoing Simulation for Radiation Therapy (RT). International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, 90(1). doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2014.05.2074


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