Monochord Sounds and Progressive Muscle Relaxation Reduce Anxiety and Improve Relaxation During Chemotherapy: A Pilot EEG Study

Lee, Eun-Jeong; Bhattacharya, Joydeep; Sohn, Christof and Vorres, Rolf. 2012. Monochord Sounds and Progressive Muscle Relaxation Reduce Anxiety and Improve Relaxation During Chemotherapy: A Pilot EEG Study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20(6), pp. 409-416. ISSN 0965-2299 [Article]

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Abstract or Description


Chemotherapy is the most distressing form of cancer treatment in oncology, but listening to music can be an adjuvant during chemotherapy. Monochord (MC) sounds are used in music therapy for the alleviation of pain, enhanced body perception, and relaxation. This study investigated the relaxation effect of MC sounds for patients during chemotherapy compared with progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), an established relaxation technique.

Methodology/principal findings

Two randomized groups of patients were observed during chemotherapy. One group listened to recorded MC sounds (n = 20) and the other group listened to recorded PMR (n = 20). Each session was investigated pre and post using Spielberger's State Anxiety Inventory (SAI) and a questionnaire about the patient's physical and psychological states. Further, for the first and the last session, multivariate electroencephalogram (EEG) signals were recorded.

Patients in both MC and PMR groups showed significant improvement in their physical and psychological states and in state anxiety. The EEG data showed that the MC and the PMR groups were associated with an increase of posterior theta (3.5–7.5 Hz) and a decrease of midfrontal beta-2 band (20–29.5 Hz) activity during the end phase of relaxation treatment. Further, the MC group was associated with decreased alpha band (8–12 Hz) activity in comparison with PMR group.


This study shows that both listening to recorded MC sounds and practising PMR have a useful and comparable effect on gynaecologic oncological patients during chemotherapy, with partially overlapping but also notably divergent neural correlates. Future research should establish the systematic use of MC in oncological contexts.

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Monochord; Progressive muscle relaxation; State anxiety; Chemotherapy; EEG; Music therapy

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Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2015 10:23

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 13:22

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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