Music therapy assists burn patients.




J Burn Care Rehabil

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Burns
Professional Data: Burns


Burns have a number of causes, including thermal agents, ultraviolet light radiation, chemicals, and electricity. Burn damage in the skin causes cellular death, capillary injury, and coagulation of protein. Capillary injury is manifested by increased capillary permeability, resulting in a wet or weepy appearance of second and third degree burns. Of the two million burns that occur in the United States each year, 500,000 are seen in the emergency room, 100,000 result in hospitalization, and 20,000 are of sufficient severity to necessitate care in a burn center.1

Burns have long been classified in degrees. This classification system is used to describe all types of burns, whether thermal, electrical, chemical, or sunburn and progresses from the least severe (first degree) to the most severe (fourth degree). Only the mild burns are self-treatable. All burns are painful, however, it is with the more severe burns that pain management becomes an important part of the patient’s treatment protocol. Controlling the pain involved in both the treatment and healing phases of severe burns is a challenge in all burn centers.

Recently, physicians at the Burn Center, MetroHealth Medical Center located in Cleveland, Ohio investigated the use of incorporating music therapy into the treatment protocol of burn victims. The authors of this report state a holistic viewpoint in treating burn patients recognizing the psychological as well as physiological aspects involved in the sometimes extensive and often painful treatment period. According to the authors, music offers a mechanism to not only individualize treatment, but to also normalize the environment in which the patient is treated. The authors of this report state that their experience in adding music therapy to the burn patient’s treatment protocol has been successful and that their patients experienced a significant response to this addition of music.2


1. Griglak MJ. Thermal injury. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1992;10:369.
2. Prensner JD, et al. Music therapy for assistance with pain and anxiety management in burn treatment. J Burn Care Rehabil. 2001 Jan-Feb;22(1):83-8.