D., Farris, C., & Byers, J. (2002). The effects of
harp music in vascular and thoracic
surgical patients. Alternative
[Orlando Regional Med. Ctr.: A single
20-minute session of live harp music was effective in decreasing pain,
anxiety and some physiological variable levels in a group of 17 cardiac
and thoracic patients (within 3 days post-op).VAS scores measured pain
T. (2003). Live harp music reduces anxiety of patients
hospitalized with cancer. The Harp Therapy Journal,
1, 4, 15.
[United Hospital, St. Paul, MN:
Patients who received a 30-minute live harp music session experienced
anxiety reduction, and decreased respiratory and heart rates as
compared to a control group. Sample: 61 patients with cancer.]
S. (2006). Harp beat affects heartbeat. The Harp Therapy
[Carle Heart Ctr., Urbana, IL: Live
harp music during cardiac electrophysiology studies decreased sinus
node rate during music intervention in 14 subjects, who were
consciously sedated. Effects lasted at least five minutes after
intervention, and ectopy stopped as well. Chief of cardiac
electrophysiology, Dr. Abraham Kocheril said “the effects of
music were above and beyond any expected changes. The findings support
Kocheril’s hypothesis that live harp music decreases
sympathetic tone and also suggests that there may be augmented
parasympathetic tone.” The study is ongoing.]
Music & Animals
A., & Quelch, V. (2003). Effects of harp music
canine patients in the veterinary hospital
setting. The Harp
8(2), 1, 4-5,15.
[Three groups of 32 canine patients
received 60 minute sessions of harp therapy (Group 1: hospitalized less
than 8 hrs.; Group 2: hospitalized longer than 8 hrs.; and Group 3:
post-surgical patients). Visual measures of discomfort: restlessness,
anxiety and respiration; all decreased during the harp therapy session.
The control group displayed no such increase and, in fact, continued to
increase in all three measures. The harp therapy group demonstrated a
gradual decline in respiration rates over the on-hour in contrast to
the control group – which remained unchanged during the same
period. Both groups demonstrated a shallow trend in reduction of heart
Live vs. Recorded Music
J. (1992). Meta-analysis of research in music and medical
treatment. Effect size as a basis for comparison across
dependent and independent variables. In
R. Spintge & R. Droh (eds.)
MusicMedicine. St. Louis, MO: MMB Music,
[In 1986 Jayne Standley reviewed over
98 empirical studies on the effects of music in medical treatment. 30
of the studies were amenable to a comprehensive meta-analysis of
characteristics and results. Despite the small number of live music
studies available, the meta-analysis seemed to confirm that live music
is more effective than recorded music. (Effect size live = 1.10 (N =
12); recorded 0.86 (N = 117).]
S. (2006). Live music lulls newborns and slows heart
The Harp Therapy
Journal. Macungie, PA. Vol. 11, No. 1. pp.
[Study performed by Dr. Shmuel Arnon, a
neonatologist, to determine the impact of live music on newborns at
Meir Hospital in the town of Kfar Saba, Israel. The study was designed
to test the difference in reaction between live, recorded and no music
for healthy, newborn babies and was conducted over a period of several
months. The live music intervention had no significant effect on the
physiological and behavioral parameters during the 30-minute therapy;
however, at the 30-minute interval after the therapy ended, it
significantly reduced heart rate, induced a deeper sleep and improved
the behavioral score. Recorded music and no-music interventions had no
significant effect on any of the tested parameters during all
Recorded Harp Music
Troxel, M. (2015). Harp sounds and heart rates: Use of therapeutic music and holistic intervention to improve intermediate nursery outcomes. The Harp Therapy Journal, 20(4), 1, 18.
[56 percent of patients' heart rates decreased from pre-music to during music periods, and 55 percent decrease in heart rate from pre-music post-music periods. The average nurse stress level decreased from 4.9 during pre-Quiet Hour to 2.8 post-Quiet Hour, on a 10-point scale.]
Murphy, E.M., Nichols, J., Somkuto, S., Sobel, M., Schinfeld, J., Galante, G., Barmat, B. (2011). Randomized trial of harp therapy in in vitro fertilization - embryo transfer study completed. The Harp Therapy Journal, 16(4), 1, 10.
[Harp therapy decreased patients' "state" or evidence-based anxiety and women in the control group had significantly higher state scores post transfer, thus demonstrating that harp therapy has an effect on acute levels of stress as assessed by psychological measures. The clinical pregnancy rate with IVF-ET transfer is typically less than 50 percent. Although not statistically significant, the clinical pregnancy rate in women receiving harp therapy.]
T. Briggs (2014). Impact of healing touch with healing harp on inpatient acute care pain. The Harp Therapy Journal, 19(3), 6-7.
[Patients who received both harp therapy and healing touch had greater average pain/anxiety and severe severe/moderate pain reduction, between pre-and post-treatment, than those in the touch-only groups.]
J. Obermeyer (2016). Report of Therapeutic Harp Foundation research projects. The Harp Therapy Journal, 21(3), 1, 5, 14, 20.
[Therapeutic harp music was found to: distract from discomfort, increase relaxation and comfort, decrease anxiety, stress and restlessness.
Vibroacoustic Therapy (VAT)
C., & McCaffrey, R. (2004). Vibroacoustic sound
therapy improves pain management and more. Holistic Nursing
Practice, 18(3), 111-118.
[Excellent overview of the new sound
technology that uses audible sound vibrations to reduce symptoms,
invoke relaxation and alleviate stress in a variety of patient
conditions. Traces development of VAT in Norway to development of
vibroacoustic equipment and therapies in the US, which began with the
Somatron company in 1985.]
C., Butler, P. (1997). Physioacoutic therapy with cardiac
surgery patients. In Wigram T., and Dileo, C. eds. Music
Health. Cherry Hill, NJ: Jeffrey Books. 197-204.
[Heart surgeon Charles Butler, MD, PhD,
and Penelope Johnson Butler, MD found significant patient benefits
using a form of VAT (physioacoustic therapy) during recovery from
cardiovascular surgery. Eight patients were studied. VAT intervention
promoted the use of shorter-acting anesthetics and resulted in a
decrease in the use of sedative and pain medication on these patients.
The average ventilator-dependent time was reduced from 17 to 7 hours,
time spent in the ICU was reduced from 36 to 18 hours, and the overall
hospital stay was reduced from 9 days to and average of 5
G. (1999). The effects of vibroacoustic music on symptom
the relaxation response through good vibration.
Engineer Med Biol.,
[In his program, Dr. George Patrick,
from the NIH, used a Visual Analog Scale and the Poppin Self-Reposting
Scale for Tension and Relaxation to measure pre and post session
intensity of pain and tension. The study included 272 patients with
various diagnoses: cancer (97); heart, lung, and blood disorders (55);
infectious diseases (54); mood disorders (32); and miscellaneous
conditions (34). Patrick determined that an 8-minute pre-session
orientation including a relaxation exercise and a 22-minute VAT session
resulted in a cumulative reduction of pain and symptoms by
S. (1997). Interview with Olav Skille –
The Harp Therapy Journal,
2(1), 8-10, 14.
[Olav Skille shares his story of the
development of VAT and his insights. A pilot study outlines beneficial
effects of VAT in treating functional dysmenhorrea.]
Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy®
S. (2004). Pilot study demonstrates positive effects of
vibroacoustic harp therapy
on heart rate variability. The
Harp Therapy Journal, 9(1),
[Iin a pilot study of 10 subjects who
received 15 minutes of VAHT, all reported some subjective decrease in
pain/tension on a VAS at the end of the study. The average heart rate
variability was assessed and shown to improve in all patients. The
actual VAHT session period yielded the greatest improvement in the
subject’s heart rate entrainment, compared to pre and post
Milroy, M. (2013). Human biofield measurements before and after VAHT. The Harp Therapy Journal, 18(4), 10-14.
[In an informal study of GDV human biofield measurements of seven subjects, pre- and post-VAHT, 100 percent of the group showed improvement immediately after treatment, 63 percent showed noticeable improvement and 37 percent showed very significant improvement.]
S. (2005) Good
Vibrations: Principles of vibroacoustic harp therapy.
Macungie, PA: Silva Vocat Music.
[Comprehensive text covering of the
development and practice of harp therapy, VAT and VAHT. Theoretical
models, 20 very interesting case studies of clients who suffered from a
variety of maladies (including fibromylagia, anxiety, RSD,
Sjogren’s syndrome and tinnitus) and music are