Combined treatment using acupuncture and music therapy on children with cerebral palsy: Gross motor function measure comparison in 60 cases

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The use of acupuncture has received recognition to effectively treat cerebral palsy. Moreover, music therapy can be used to modify treatment of cerebral palsy.


To study the effects of combined treatment using acupuncture and music therapy on gross motor function measure (GMFM) of children with cerebral palsy, compared with acupuncture treatment alone.


Randomized, controlled, clinical study. The experiment was conducted in Shenzhen Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine between January 2007 and September 2007.


All children with cerebral palsy in the trial were from the outpatient department of Shenzhen Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The children were randomly divided into two groups: 30 children in Group B received acupuncture and music therapy, while 30 children in Group A received only acupuncture therapy.


Subjects in Groups A and B received acupuncture based on syndrome differentiation. The main acupoints were necessary for all participants. At first, flash needling was applied to the acupoints. For the remaining acupoints, the technique of transverse needling was applied to the head acupoints, and perpendicular needling was used for the other points. The inserted needles were twirled and then maintained for 30 minutes. The needle was twirled for one second every other 10 minutes, without reinforcing-reducing techniques. The therapy was performed every other day. The trial consisted of three periods each, and lasted for 84 days. Subjects in Group B received music therapy. They listened to music that they preferred while acupuncture was being performed. Following acupuncture, they were allowed to perform musical activities, such as percussion, singing, and dancing. The music therapy was scheduled for one hour, including listening to music for 30 minutes and music activities for 30 minutes.


The comprehensive functional evaluation scale of cerebral palsy and the GMFM were applied to test symptoms before and after respective treatment.


All 60 children were included in final analysis. The general function of all children with cerebral palsy improved, but the general efficiency in Group B was obviously higher than in Group A (93% and 73%, x2 = 4.32, P < 0.05). GMFM evaluation showed that the function of crawling and kneeling, standing, and walking improved more significantly in Group B than in Group A (P < 0.05), while the function of lying down, rolling, and sitting remained similar between the two groups (P > 0.05).


The combination of acupuncture and music therapy on the treatment of cerebral palsy is more effective than acupuncture alone. The various activities in music therapy may affect treatment of cerebral palsy.

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