Music during surgery: for patient or surgeon?

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Many people ask me if the music on our Surgical Serenity Headphones is for the surgeon or the patient.  Actually, quite a bit has been written about music for the doctor, whether focusing on the surgeon or the anesthesiologist.  Very litle has been written about music for the patient!

The article that I will cite, shortly, is from 2011, and is written for the general public by an M.D. in San Francisco.   Although this article is very interesting, no mention is made of the powerful phenomenon known as “rhythmic entrainment” which is at the heart of the Surgical Serenity Solution!  When people or medical personnel think about music during surgery, they are mainly thinking of  music being broadcast in the OR through speakers or perhaps an iPod on a speaker.  The music is usually chosen by the surgeon and is in accordance with his taste.

How the patient might respond to it is not really foremost in their mind.  The field of music therapy has conducted hundreds of scientific, empirical studies on the use of music in healthcare, medicine and wellness.  Recently there has been an increase in the number of studies focusing on the use of music with the patient during surgery.  Often these studies are looking at the use of a music therapist playing live music for the patient during surgery!  Although it sounds wonderful, I’m not sure how practical it really is.  The operating room is a rather small space as hospitals work to accomodate as many ORs as they safely can.

In any event, the music therapists are working with the patient before surgery to determine the patient’s taste in music as well as the music that will be most beneficial to them during their procedure.  Then, a music therapist usually plays the chosen music on guitar and possibly sings?  Music therapist friends, please correct me if this is wrong.  If I were having surgery, I would love this!  However, in a busy hospital with dozens of surgeries going on daily, I think it’s not likely to be available.

For that reason, knowing how to choose the music that will best entrain, or synchronize your heart-rate and breathing is so important.  Or, you can always get the pre-programmed cordless headphones, with the ideal music already on them and waiting for you.  That way, the surgeons and other staff can still have their music of choice!  Your choice!

For more information on music in surgery, see  http://www.salon.com/2011/03/07/poprx_music_in_operating_room/

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