Surgical Headphones FAQ

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The headphones have been on the market for almost a year now and I’m selling them (and the download) primarily to individuals.  Once the data is gathered and the proof of their efficacy is undeniable, I will begin marketing them to hospitals and surgical centers, in earnest. 

What I’ve noticed so far is that certain questions come up over and over.  I thought I would share them, and my response, with you now.

FAQ’s for Surgical Headphones
1.  Q.  Why do I need to get your surgical headphones?  Why can’t I just use my iPod?
     A.  Of course you can use your iPod (if your surgeon agrees).  The main reason to use my headphones is that there are no wires or cords to get in the way of medical devices being used and more importantly…the music has been especially chosen and sequenced by a clinical musicologist who has been studying what the best music for surgery is for 20 years!
2.   Q How do the headphones fit on my head?

      A The headphones fit behind the neck and hook over the ears. Both earpieces are padded and the headset is very comfortable.

3.  Q  Can the headphones also be used at home?

     A.  Absolutely! The headphones can be used anywhere, including outdoors, during exercise of any kind, or in bed.

4.   Q.  Can I change the music on the headphones later if I want to put some of my favorite music on them?

      A.  Yes you can.  You can completely remove the surgery music or you can leave it there and add 6-8 more hours of your own favorite music for relaxation, energizing, exercising or whatever you wish.

5.  Q.  Will the headphones be sterilized before surgery?
     A.  Your headphones will be brand-new when you receive them and won’t need to be sterilized.  You will probably try them out several times before your procedure to be sure you now how to turn them off and on as well as recharge them.  You might want to wipe them down with a disinfectant before you arrive at the hospital, but nothing else is necessary!

6.  Q.  How soon should I order them before my procedure?
    A.  It’s a good idea to order them as soon as you know you’re having surgery so that you can get familiar with them and even listen to the music numerous times.  However, they are very easy to operate and all you really need to know is how to turn them on.

7.  Q.  How long will the music play?
     A.  The music will play for 7-8 hours without needing to be recharged!  The surgery track is about an hour long and will repeat continuously until they are turned off!

I’m sure there are many more questions you might have, and feel free to contact me through the comment option on this blog or from my website http://www.healingmusicenterprises.com/

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More research on benefits of live music during surgery

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Classical music played on a piano in the operating room for 115 patients having eye surgery at the former St. Francis Medical Center-Liliha had “profound” physical benefits, it was reported today.

The music lowered the patients’ blood pressure and heart and respiratory rates before any sedation or pain medication, according to a paper in the Medscape Journal of Medicine, a Web resource for physicians of peer-reviewed medical journal articles.

Dr. Jorge Camara, a classically trained pianist and ophthalmologist, played music for patients before surgery as part of a study from May to August 2005 to demonstrate the medical benefits of music.

The classical and semi-classical pieces ranged from Debussy’s “Arabesque No. 1 in E Major” and Chopin’s “Etude in E Major, Op. 10 No. 3,” to “The More I See You,” by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon.

The patients, 49 to 79 years old, were having surgery for the first time. The study reports average decreases of 21 percent in their blood pressure, 8 percent in heart rate and 21 percent in breathing rate.

“This sentinel paper validates the growing evidence that listening to relaxing music has profound beneficial effects on the physiologic functions of the human body,” said Camara, director of ophthalmology in the Department of Surgery, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

He believes it’s the first study in which a surgeon performed on a piano in an operating room for patients before surgery.

When Camara began the project, Samuel Wong, former Honolulu Symphony music director, and Arthur Harvey, former University of Hawaii music professor and researcher, joined him in playing the piano for patients.

A total of 203 patients underwent ophthalmologic procedures when the piano was in the operating room, but 88 had no music played. The result was “a statistically significant increase of their mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate,” the study found.

Co-authors of the paper, “The Effects of Live Classical Piano Music on the Vital Signs of Patients Undergoing Ophthalmic Surgery,” are Joseph Ruszkowski, Kamehameha Schools music teacher, and Dr. Sandra R. Worak, a research fellow trained by Camara now working in the Philippines.

No complications were associated with the music, and patients “were very happy their doctor was playing the piano for them,” Camara said in an interview.

He said Kahala painter Laurie McKeon, 57, one of the patients who heard live music, wrote about the experience, explaining how scared she was to have surgery and how the piano music made a huge difference.

She wrote: “The music soared above me, swirled around me. It penetrated through my pores, beyond my ears, past my mind and somehow, into my heart. I felt at peace. I felt safe. I felt like everything was going to be just fine. And it was.”

Camara no longer has live piano music in his operating room but patients hear a recording of him playing the piano. He is past president of the Aloha Medical Mission and has given three piano concerts to benefit the organization at the Neil Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Citing growing interest in the medical benefits of music, he said, “So much more has to be studied,” such as the effect on male versus female patients and rap music versus relaxing classical music. “This is only the beginning of a journey that will open our eyes to the wonderful potential of music for healing,” he said.

By Helen Altonn
haltonn@starbulletin.com

The paper can be seen on www.medscape.com.

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Medical Study in Sweden documents music’s power before surgery

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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2009 Jul;53(6):759-64. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Relaxing music as pre-medication before surgery: a randomised controlled trial. Bringman H, Giesecke K, Thörne A, Bringman S. Department of Surgery, Södertälje Hospital, SE-152 86 Södertälje, Sweden.
 INTRODUCTION: Patients who await surgery often suffer from fear and anxiety, which can be prevented by anxiolytic drugs. Relaxing music may be an alternative treatment with fewer adverse effects. This randomised clinical trial compared pre-operative midazolam with relaxing music.

METHOD: Three hundred and seventy-two patients scheduled for elective surgery were randomised to receive pre-operative prevention of anxiety by 0.05-0.1 mg/kg of midazolam orally or by relaxing music. The main outcome measure was the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI X-1), which was completed by the patients just before and after the intervention.

RESULTS: Of the 177 patients who completed the music protocol, the mean and (standard deviation) STAI-state anxiety scores were 34 (8) before and 30 (7) after the intervention. The corresponding scores for the 150 patients in the midazolam group were 36 (8) before and 34 (7) after the intervention. The decline in the STAI-state anxiety score was significantly greater in the music group compared with the midazolam group (P<0.001, 95% confidence interval range -3.8 to -1.8).

CONCLUSION: Relaxing music decreases the level of anxiety in a pre-operative setting to a greater extent than orally administrated midazolam. Higher effectiveness and absence of apparent adverse effects makes pre-operative relaxing music a useful alternative to midazolam for pre-medication.

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Headphones for Labor and Delivery?

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Recently, several people have asked me about the possibility of have some of my pre-programmed surgical headphones programmed for labor and deliver. I think it’s a great idea because it could keep the labor progressing. The phenomenon of musical entrainment is powerful and the body responds to the tempo and mood of any piece of music!

I’ve always that Ravel’s “Bolero” would be a good piece for labor and delivery. What do you think?

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Dental Surgery Takes a Look at Surgical Serenity Headphones!

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Tomorrow I’m traveling to Versailles, KY to speak to a group of 25-30 dentists about our Surgical Serenity Headphones and their value in dentistry! Ever since the headphones went on the market last March (www.surgicalheadphones.com) people have been saying “Oh, those would be great in a dentist’s office!”

 

Yes, the dentist chair is one of the most un-favorite places to find oneself. In dentistry, the headphones would serve multiple purposes. In addition to the relaxation effect that invariably is elicited, there’s also the fact that having on headphones will block and muffle the sound of the drill, one of the most unpleasant parts of the dental procedure.
As with so many procedures, just knowing that you have multiple choices for pain management is a huge plus, and with music, there’s no novocaine numbness to wear off and no gases or narcotics to put into your bloodstream!
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Music and stress in children during general anesthesia and surgery

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Recently I came across this very interesting study and thought my readers would want to know about it.  Music during surgery can help with ALL populations!  This was done by  Helena Bogopolsky.
Introduction

——————————————————————————–

The research I am about to present today has taken three years. Its goal was to reduce physiological and emotional stress in patients undergoing general anesthesia. The research questions were:

Is there audio perception when under anesthesia?

Can we find a parameter that would measure the physiological and biochemical effect of music under anesthesia?

As a resident music therapist in the children’s surgery department of the Medical Center in Jerusalem, I witnessed the positive effects of music on the emotional state of pre- and post-operative children. These encounters gave me the incentive to research the effects music might have during the process of the surgery itself.

I speculated that playing music to children undergoing general anesthesia would help to reduce their psychological and physiological stress levels.

Let us begin with my first question and see what we know about hearing during general anesthesia:

Hearing and Memory Under General Anesthesia

——————————————————————————–

Lately, research has shown that people are able to hear and report what they heard while under general anesthesia (McCarron and Bonny, 1984).

How would you feel, if you were anesthetized during surgery and heard the following?

Just a moment! I don’t like the patient’s color. Much too blue.

Her lips are very blue. I’m going to give a little more oxygen. . . .

There, that’s better now. You can carry on with the operation.

(Levinson, 1965:544)

Patients are not EXPECTED to be aware of events during anesthesia, and they are not EXPECTED to have any post-surgical memories of events that happened during anesthesia. However, despite these expectations, research (Levinson 1965, Gurman 2000) has shown that in many cases high level auditory processing (as is necessary for music perception) still exists for at least some patients undergoing general anesthesia. In addition, research shows that even if the patients cannot recall exactly what happened in the Operating Room, evidence of their experiences comes up in implicit memory tasks (Gurman 2000).

The implications of such reports are serious indeed. Patients may be at risk of psychological trauma that they not even aware of, or know the source of. In fact, research shows that of those patients who are aware during general anesthesia, 80% show symptoms compatible with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (Cundy and Dasey, 1996: 143). So, if nothing else, simply wearing headphones and being exposed to music rather than to stressful comments during the operation could have beneficial results.

However, we hypothesize that the administration of music during anesthesia has much deeper effects. These effects are related to music’s ability to influence physical and psychological states.

Review of Literature

——————————————————————————–

Discussions about the influence of music on depression and pain have been around since at least the beginning of the 1800’s. Some stories even go back to biblical times. Technological means for measuring results have only come recently. But we still do not know exactly what effect music has on the human body.

So What Do We Know Today?

We know the following effects which music has on the human body:

Physiological and Psychological Aspects:

First of all, we definitely know that music affects the limbic system which regulates deep emotions and many involuntary physical operations and reactions (pulse & blood pressure)

Second, music may alter pain perception and pain sensation.

Third, Music also assists in reducing stress levels:

In the light of the effects mentioned above, it is reasonable to assume that music can provide a significant contribution in reducing stress during anesthesia.

Effects of Music on Patients Under Anesthesia:

A number of studies have shown positive effects of music on patients undergoing general anesthesia. However, there are still many questions unresolved.

Firstly, what are the tests or diagnostics available to measure emotional stress directly?

Secondly, would music have the same positive effects on children undergoing general anesthesia?

Stress caused by Hospitalization

As we know, hospitalization can be a traumatic experience. The experience of being cut off from home, surgery and treatment, creates a stressful reaction (Sekeles, 1996).

As mentioned before, surgery and anesthesia are physically stressful and can be measured scientifically. This contrasts with emotional stress, which is more difficult to define and to measure. In addition, doctors believe that the patients’ emotional state is very important for their recovery.

How to measure emotional stress?

One of the first difficulties I faced was how to measure the emotional stress in children. Since only measurable results are valid, finding a measure for emotional stress was quite important. Such a parameter needs to be standardized, which is not always easy.

We decided to measure the level of Cortisol known as “the stress hormone”.

Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s `fight or flight’ response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body. (Elizabeth Scott)

Since we could not use blood tests for this research because of the Helsinki committee’s limitations on intrusive procedures, we opted for measuring Cortisol levels in saliva.

Research Design

——————————————————————————–

In order to achieve standardization, my research concentrates on relatively simple eye operations. I investigate the effects of music on patients undergoing general anesthesia, for eye surgery, by comparing both the quality of the post-operative behavior and the biochemical levels of Cortisol – the stress hormone.

I begin by meeting with children ages 6 to18 in the preoperative preparation program. I let them know that they have the option of listening to music during the operation. If the child shows interest, I obtain written permission from the child, their parents and the medical staff. The child then brings their personal choice of music which was pre-selected in an interview before the operation.

During the operation, I supply the child with a set of specially designed earphones that do not interfere with the surgery. The music is turned on and adjusted to a level that does not exceed 65-70 dB (typical for experiments in music cognition).

In order to measure the effects of the music and to measure stress levels before, during and after the time of the operation, the saliva test is taken 3 times:

First, one day before the operation.

Second, immediately before anesthesia

Third, upon awakening from anesthesia after the operation.

Besides the saliva test, we used two additional and complementary scales in order to assess the patient’s state.

The first scale was the 4-point Watcha Agitation Scale, which was applied when the child awoke from the anesthetic by the attending nurse, who reported the child’s agitation level to the researcher.

As you can see on the 4-point Watcha Agitation Scale:

TABLE 1. 4-Point Agitation Scale – Watcha Relaxed

3

Crying but consolable

2

Crying inconsolably

1

Restlessness

0

The second scale was the Oucher Visual Pain Scale, which was also applied on awakening from the anesthesia

FIGURE 1. Oucher Visual Pain-Scale

——————————————————————————–

Subject Demographics

The research population included children between the ages of 6-18. This age range was selected so as to enable me to communicate with them freely. The children came from 4 different cultural backgrounds:

Secular Jews

Secular Arabs

Religious Jews

Religious Arabs

The patients’ languages included Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian.

In the case of Arabic speaking children, I invited the parents to assist in translation. In the case of Hebrew, English and Russian speaking children, I personally communicated with the children myself.

How was the music chosen?

My first thought was to choose relaxing music, for example ocean waves or classical pieces. In the end, however, I decided to let the child bring his or her favorite music because it gives them a sense of comfort and security.

By playing the child’s favorite music during the operation, the music served as a “transitional object” (Winnicott, 1971), which helped to overcome unpleasant feelings and loneliness.

What type of music did the children want?

The interesting thing about their choice of music was its intensive tempo and rhythm. I will now play some examples of their choices.

As we have heard, their choice of music is far from “lullaby”, but does contain some common features:

It is familiar

It is music they have at home

There is a singer

Fast rhythm and tempo

Results

——————————————————————————–

As the next table shows, the results, despite not being statistically conclusive, show that the music group’s awakening was much more pleasant. We compared several categories as we see from the table

The most significant effect, 21 percent, appears in the comparative study of short operations (less than 65 minutes).

TABLE 2. Comparative Results of Quality of Awakening between Control Group and Music Group Description

Results

Conclusion

Study of the effect of music therapy on quality of awakening

The result shows an effect (11.9 %) of provided treatment on patients’ awakeness. (student t-test, 0.1664)

Study of the effect of music therapy on quality of awakening in Jewish patients

The result shows an effect (15.3%) of the therapy on patients’ awakeness for Jewish patients. (student t-test, 0.129). It is also important to note that there is no difference between the awakeness quality values for Jewish and general patients

Study of the effect of music therapy on quality of awakening after operation for Strabismus correction.

The result shows an effect (14.3%) of the therapy on patients’ awakeness after Strabismus correction operation (student t-test, 0.187).

Study of the effect of music therapy on quality of awakening after short time (less 65 min) operations.

The result shows a significant effect (21%) of the therapy on patients’ awakeness after short time operations (student t-test, 0.081).

Study of the effect of music therapy on quality of awakening for both genders

The result shows an effect of the therapy on patients’ awakeness for boys (15.6%) and girls (13.6%) (student t-tests, 0.155 and 0.213, comparatively).

It is also interesting to mention that the studied girls show better post-operative awakeness capability in both, control (17.3%, t-test 0.205) and treated (15.4%, t-test 0.17), groups.

FIGURE 2. Salivary cortisol test

——————————————————————————–

This table shows the results of the cortisol test. The first time checkpoint was one day before surgery; the second checkpoint was one hour before surgery, and the third checkpoint was one hour after surgery. As we can see, the results are not statistically conclusive, but they do show a clear tendency in favor of the music group.

CONCLUSIONS

——————————————————————————–

Initially, I thought that measuring the effects of music would be simple. That I would play music to patients, measure their stress levels, and immediately see the benefits that music gave. It turned out that the process was much more complicated. Factors such as the depth of anesthesia, levels of emotional stress, standardizing, and measuring results have all added to the complexity of the experiment. Apart from that, the experiment lacked the optimal infrastructure necessary for a clinical study in the field. And in addition, we discovered during our work that testing for cortisol is a non-routine test and has no acknowledged base line. Nor did we take into account the fact that cortisol levels fluctuate during the day. They can be high in the morning and lower later on, and the cortisol tests we carried out were on children whose surgery was scheduled at different times of the day.

It should be noted that, for technical reasons, the number of subjects tested for cortisol levels was limited, which should be taken into account in future experiments and the number increased. We also felt that objective tests of cortisol and awakening quality should be complemented by subjective psychological tests such as questionnaires. We did not use questionnaires in this study, but in conversations a week after surgery the importance of providing emotional support by means of music for children and their parents was clear.

It is certainly clear from the above that future research should include the use of questionnaires which give insight into subjective experiences and complement the objective use of cortisol.

Finally, I should say that the most important thing my research has shown me is that despite the lack of statistically conclusive results in the physiological and biochemical test I stay convinced more than ever, that music is an effective means for lowering stress in children during general anesthesia and surgery.

—–

References of this conference paper can be obtained by the author

This article can be cited as:

Bogopolsky, H. (2007) Music and stress in children during general anesthesia and surgery. Music Therapy Today Vol.VIII (3) December. available at http://musictherapyworld.net

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What investors are saying about Surgical Serenity Headphones

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I met with all of my investors this past week and they all have really dynamite ideas for ways to move the Surgical Serenity Headphones into the mainstream.  All of these men are extremely successful business men who have bought and sold hundreds of businesses.  One of the suggestions was to make contact NOW with major manufacturers of medical devices.  Through the program LinkedIn I have been able to do that!  The world of the internet never ceases to amaze me with all the possibilities for networking with people.
A different investor simply gave me testimonial after testimonial.  He has had numerous surgeries in the past and hates pain he said (among other things) “Dr. Cash, if you can prevent me from feeling as much pain, requiring so much anesthesia and help me to relax and calm down with your special music, then please send me some immediately!”  He said I could even give his name…Bill Ferko.
It seems that all the investors are pretty excited about the potential of these headphones to be accepted by hospitals, surgeons and anesthesiologists around the world.  It seems logical to me because calming your mind and body before surgery with music and stabilizing your heart rate and breathing during surgery with steady, instrumental music can only improve the entire procedure, increase safety be decreasing the amount of anesthesia needed and allow the patient to recover faster, be discharged sooner and incur few expenses.
I fully intend to have a charity arm of the organization to provide headphones to those who can’t afford them, but ideally I’d like to gather enough research documenting the benefits of the headphones so that insurance companies will not only cover them, but require them. 

I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions about all the above.  Thanks!

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Two Major Hospitals Now Recommend Music with Surgery

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In the past two months, both the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have come out advocating music!  The Mayo Clinic said:

“Research on the effectiveness of music therapy dates back to the 1920s, when a study reported individuals’ blood pressure dropped when listening to music. Currently, our program is conducting a research study to measure the effects of music therapy on pain, anxiety and tension. As part of the Cardiovascular Surgery Healing Enhancement Program, rooms for cardiac surgery patients have music systems. A selection of CD music is available at each cardiac surgical unit. “

The Cleveland Clinic said:

“Research on music and the brain has shown that it can reduce stress, alleviate pain and promote relaxation. And new research from the Cleveland Clinic shows that music can even reach into deep brain structures unrelated to hearing and memory to literally soothe nerves.

Patients receiving deep-brain-stimulation surgery for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and several other conditions have to be awake for much of the surgery to tell surgeons if their symptoms improve when electrodes are placed deep in their brains.

All of this is very exciting news to me as I am hoping to make my surgical headphones standard in hospitals around the world.  Right now I am selling them online at http://www.surgicalheadphones.com/, but I hope eventually to sell them to hospitals so that they can give them to all surgical patients.  Stay tuned!  The big launch will be in 2010!

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Cleveland Clinic researchers find music can have a soothing effect during brain surgery

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Cleveland Clinic researchers find music can have a soothing effect during brain surgery
By Brie Zeltner, The Plain Dealer

December 01, 2009, 12:01AM

Lynn Ischay, The Plain DealerDr. Damir Janigro, left, a neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic, found that melodic passages of music seemed to calm patients when played while they remainied conscious during deep brain stimulation. With Janigro, in this picture from 2007, is Italian cellist Umberto Clerici. They are holding the 1769 Guadagnini cello that belonged to Janigro’s father, the great Italian cellist Antonio Janigro, which Clerici has on loan.

If you’ve ever come home after a long day and turned on, say, Brahms to relax, or jacked up the volume on Queen’s “We Are the Champions” to get psyched for a workout, you know that music can change your mood.

Research on music and the brain has shown that it can reduce stress, alleviate pain and promote relaxation. And new research from the Cleveland Clinic shows that music can even reach into deep brain structures unrelated to hearing and memory to literally soothe nerves.

Patients receiving deep-brain-stimulation surgery for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and several other conditions have to be awake for much of the surgery to tell surgeons if their symptoms improve when electrodes are placed deep in their brains.

“I witnessed several hundred brain surgeries with awake patients, and I noticed that these patients were going through a very traumatic experience, much worse than a root canal, for hours, and yet they were wide awake. So they need to be conscious, but no one said that they have to be upset or bored.”

Damir Janigro, Cleveland Clinic neuroscientist

Neuroscientist Damir Janigro took advantage of this conscious period to play clips of music for the patients to see what effect it had on their brain function and on their stress levels during the surgery, which can be many hours long.

Janigro decided to play music for these patients after his own experience in a noisy operating room this year. While being prepped for spinal surgery, he thought of how dentists often give patients headphones to listen to music or a TV to watch to ease anxiety.

“The reason why they do it — I asked my dentist — is because

[the procedure is] easier, and you go home faster,” Janigro said.

Janigro presented his findings Oct. 30 at the Music and the Brain symposium in New York. Janigro is one of many specialists who work in the Clinic’s Arts and Medicine Institute, which is studying how the arts can be used to enhance healing.

Dirk Hoch, 52, of Delphi, Ind., agreed to participate in the music study without hesitation. Hoch is a former postal worker who had to retire in 2005 due to essential tremor, a neurological condition that causes involuntary shaking, particularly evident during voluntary movements like holding a fork.

During the April surgery, Hoch listened to different music clips and told Janigro how he felt.

Like all the other participants, about a dozen in this initial study, Hoch preferred the melodic music clips to the others. Janigro also offered purely rhythmic music and a clip that combined rhythmic and melodic music.

To eliminate the possibility of any emotional associations with the music related to memory, Janigro had Gregory Bonanno of the Cleveland Institute of Music compose the clips.

Hoch said the music was a welcome distraction from the pain of the halo-like metal clamp that held his head in place during the surgery.

“You were at ease and at peace with the surroundings, which, given the circumstances, is something,” he said. “I mean, after all, they’re drilling holes in your head and inserting electrodes. It just really made a huge difference.”

Janigro and his team could see that difference at work in Hoch’s brain.

When he and the other patients listened to the rhythmic music or the clip that was both rhythmic and melodic, the overactive firing in their subthalamic and thalamic neurons didn’t change. These are the areas of the brain that control the surface cortex and are particularly important in movement.

During the melodic music clips, the firing in these areas slowed down, and Hoch and the other patients felt calmer.

It wasn’t exactly what Janigro expected.

“It’s strange because these are motor sensors, so you would expect that boom, boom, boom would have more of an effect — the rhythmic music.”

The next step for Janigro and his colleagues will be to find out if melodic music in the operating room has any effect on stress measures, like the amount of the stress hormone cortisol circulating in the blood or the amount of blood-pressure medication needed during the procedure.

Ultimately, Janigro hopes the musical intervention will mean patients heal faster.

“I bet you that they will go home sooner,” he said. “That’s the goal, really. Happy people don’t stay in the hospital.”

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Music during Surgery: What the experts say

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“We trust that the magic of sound, scientifically applied, will contribute in ever greater measure to the relief of human suffering, to a higher development and a richer integration of the human personality, to the harmonious synthesis of all human “notes” of all “group chords and melodies” – until there will be the greater symphony of the One Humanity.”

Roberto Assagioli M.D.
 
 

Music can be employed as assistance in obtaining physical, emotional and spiritual health. During the first half of the nineties, I investigated the therapeutic consequences of distinct types of music on patients under adequate anaesthesia. This investigation was done in Johannesburg at the Garden City Clinic, over a period of four years (1991-1995), with statistics done at the Witwatersrand university, by dr. Jackie Galpin.

Data available on investigations done to test the therapeutic benefits of music, would fill a library of its own. That was not what was done. The effect of music with a known therapeutic value, was investigated on patients under adequate anaesthesia – testing for reduction in pain levels and a shorter recovery period. It is an accepted dictum in psychology that people in a deep sleep, coma or under anaesthesia can hear (not remember). That the auditory pathways up to the auditory cortex actually remain open and untouched by anaesthesia. That you can talk to people in a coma or undergoing surgery, and that the body would respond to whatever was said. In many hospitals, positive suggestions are given to patients in a coma and on the operating table. The capital aim of the project was to test music to serve as a credible alternative for the positive verbal suggestions.

Music has powerful effects on people, whether they are educated in music or not. Wertheim (1961) states that “muscle perception and performance is an inborn capacity of the human brain. This ability is common among human beings and is independent of education or culture…..” This makes the application of music as a therapy, or music as an aid to any other therapy, very simple.

Science, Medicine and Anthropology have completed many years of investigation on the effect of music on the physical body. As early as 1830, articles were published by J. Dogiel, which outlined experiments done to affirm music’s dynamic effect on the body. Absolute physiological reactions were established, and amongst other things, it was proved that music act on the circulation of blood, and can cause blood pressure to rise and fall. According to this, these alternations of pressure rely mainly on the influence which auditory stimulation has on the medulla oblongata and the auditory nerve.

During the first half of the previous century, many investigators throughout Europe agreed that music increases metabolism in a very adequate way, and that it changes muscular energy and enhances respiration.

The positive effects of music on physical and psychological health are truly widespread. In an article on music as cause of disease and healing agent, Assagioli (1965) states that “through its influence upon the subconscious, music can have a still more definite and specific healing effect of a psychoanalytic character. If of an appropriate kind, it can help in eliminating repression and resistance and bring into the field of waking consciousness many drives, emotions and complexes which were creating difficulties in the subconscious”.

It is known that certain kinds of music have the ability to reduce pain, whether it is physical or emotional. Scarantino (1987) states that “Pythagoras of Samos taught his students that certain musical sequences, chords and melodies produced definite responses in the human organism, and could change behaviour patterns that accelerated healing processes”

In a further discussion Scarantino states “In the 1970’s, Bulgarian researchers, under the direction of Dr. Georgi Lazanov, discovered a holistic approach to learning, that allows the body and mind to work in harmony through the linking of music and verbal suggestions…. While listening to largo movements from works of Baroque era composers, with tempos slower than the average heartbeat (sixty beats per minute or slower), the vital signs of test subjects slows down in rhythm with the music, relaxing them physically but leaving their minds alert for the assimilation of information. When the various educational data was presented to the students while the music played in the background, the students experienced significant increases in awareness and retention of information and a whole repertoire of health benefits, including relief from pain and headaches…..”

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