Role of music in clinical acupuncture: a cross cultural investigation

Mary Haiping Cui, Don Knox, Michael Opoku Agyeman, Raymond MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


To compare and contrast music listening experiences in healthcare settings cross culturally, this study aims to investigate value of music in allied healthcare. Mixed-method study was conducted on the platform of acupuncture clinic in Scotland, UK. 24 clients undertaking acupuncture treatment for back pain took parts, including 12 with Scottish cultural background and 12 with Chinese cultural background (14 females and 10 males, age ranging from 29 to 65, mean = 40.5). Self-assessed levels of physical pain, emotional pain, stress, relaxation and energy were taken before and after acupuncture treatment with and without preferred music alongside, followed by a post-study interview. Re- sults indicated music intervention could enhance treatment effects. Anti-stress effect of preferred music was show in both cultures. Physical, emotional pain and stress level was significantly reduced after acupuncture treatment with the enjoyment of preferred music. Relaxation level was found more significantly increased among Chinese, whereas Scottish participants showed higher energy gaining. Soft and melodically music was the major characteristics of music chosen by Chinese clients, whereas Scottish preferred fast beat and energetic music to play along. Qualitative data highlighted more ‘pleasant’, ‘relaxing’ and ‘familiar’ environment created by music, which also eased possible tension caused by acupuncture itself by ‘attending to favored music’. Preferred music created a sanctuary for physical and emotional rest. Further exploration of chosen music and relationship with listener may contribute towards more effective application of music to promote health and wellbeing in multi-cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on New Music Concepts (ICNMC 2017)
Place of PublicationMilan, Italy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Mar 2016


  • Music
  • cross-culturalhealthcare
  • emotional pain
  • physical pain
  • stress


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