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Music with Surgery: Does it really make a difference?

September 3rd, 2012 · 1 Comment · Dangers of anesthesia, Music and Surgery, Music Healing, Rhythmic Entrainment

I understand healthy skepticism.  It’s a good thing.  No one wants to be a” sucker” and the medical/field is no exception to fads and scams.  When people used to mention the use of music during dental visits or childbirth or surgery, I was skeptical.  As a professional musician, I thought that it might be confusing to me.  I like to listen to music when I can focus entirely on the music, but when I actually began working in the world of music as medicine, in 1990, I learned things that forced me to rethink my previous skepticism.

Of course, now I’m totally a believer.  After helping people choose their own ideal music for surgery or childbirth or chemo for over two decades, I had the idea to create wireless, pre-programmed headphones for surgery.  These have been on the market for a little over 3 years now and I’ve sold them around the world.  The type of music one can listen to can include classical, jazz, New Age, hymns, or any genre that you like.  The important thing is that the music be very steady, purely instrumental (i.e. no lyrics) and have a simple texture (i.e. just one or two instruments playing together.)

Why headphones, rather than ambient music?  Well, despite being under general anesthesia, patients do wake up from anesthesia stating that they definitely heard conversation in the operating room that they wish they hadn’t heard.  Or they report that the doctor was listening to music that they (the patient) did not like at all or even found offensive.  A nurse once told me that the surgeon she worked with listened to “Another One Bites the Dust!”  I think that is defenseless.

Many of my customers are music lovers, but many know nothing about music.  What is the common denominator? Fear!  People are really scared about surgery, about going under general anesthesia, about whether or not they will wake up and see their families and loved ones again.

Using music before, during and after surgery doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have problems, but it definitely does lessen the likelihood of problems, because it decreases the amount of medications you’ll require.  When you begin listening to calm, soothing music for about 30 minutes before your procedure, take it into surgery with your wireless headphones, and on into the recovery room, study after study shows that you will require less anxiety meds, less anesthesia, and less pain medication.  This is not just a theoretical possibility.  It has been proven repeatedly.

Doctors, musicologists, scientists and researchers all agree that rhythmic entrainment enables the body and mind to syncronize with the tempo and the character of the music.  If you’re having surgery in the near future, get your music and headphones ready now!  If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this, order some ready-to-go HERE!

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Lynette Hill

    People interested in the use of music to heal might enjoy my fantasy novel about sisters who stopped a plague by singing songs their ancestors learned from dragons. Check out ‘Halfnote’s Song’ available in print or Kindle on Amazon.

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