The Body Tambura

Music plays an important part in the range of therapies available at the Hospice. Carefully selected music can facilitate emotional self-expression and provide a supportive and non-threatening environment with opportunities to confront fears and discuss concerns. Complementary Therapy Coordinator Anthony Hall first learned about the body tambura as a tool for receptive music therapy at a conference in Bilbao. He immediately knew that he wanted to offer this form of music therapy to Hospice patients, so he purchased one direct from maker Bernhard Deutz in Germany. To Anthony’s knowledge, it is the first body tambura in the UK. Since taking delivery of the instrument, he has been conducting research as to its effectiveness and benefits. To help understand how the instrument is used, a short film has been created by Silva Productions. It also effectively demonstrates the value of the body tambura to the person being treated. You can view the film above.

Complementary Therapies 3

The beauty of this instrument is that it is very simple, requiring no musical experience or training, and can be played by anyone. It can be helpful in some different clinical situations due to its efficiency in significantly reducing anxiety, distress and fear. Differing from the traditional Indian tambura, the body tambura is rectangular in shape, made of lightweight wood, with a concave base designed to fit comfortably on the chest or back of a person lying down. One patient who used it in this way said, “I feel enveloped by peaceful sounds.” Another said, “…my head feels clearer; it has calmed down my thoughts.”

Anthony’s research to date reveals the average level of distress at the start of a session is 8 out of 10; just ten minutes of listening to the body tambura reduces the rating to 2 out of 10. The science behind it centres on the vibration of the sound produced by the tambura and its ability to affect a client both psychologically and emotionally.

You can listen to and download relaxation music below:


Guided relaxation


Pure tambora