Music for Surgery: Profile of Hysterectomy Patient


This past week, a dear friend of mine experienced a surgery that she was not looking forward to. (But then, who does look forward to surgery?) She had known for some time that she needed to have some large fibroid tumors removed, but did not think she would need a complete hysterectomy until a month before she had it. We talked many times about how she would use music before, during and after the surgery, but she had no idea how glad she would be that she had it ready to go when she arrived at the hospital that morning.

My friend had carefully chosen Handel’s “Watermusic Suite” to have playing through headphones during the surgery, but almost as soon as she arrived, things began to go awry. During the wait to be called back for getting into a gown and getting the IV started, she began listening to her chosen music. When she was finally called in, thee staff wouldn’t allow any family members to go with her although all she was doing was changing clothes and she was clearly scared beyond what she expected. They finally did let her sister and me go back but then informed her that they couldn’t find any of her pre-surgery blood work and would have to do it all again! She turned up her music and stuck out her arm for a repeat of the procedure she dreads so much. Shortly after that, a nurse came in telling her that they had found the blood work from three days before. My friend almost started crying but instead looked at us and pressed repeat on the CD Walkman.Then the anesthesiologist arrived. She was a woman in her forties at most, and was “all business.” There was no smile, no “how are you doing?” nothing. She even began to berate my friend when informed that someone had donated blood for her, saying that she was sure they wouldn’t use it unless it had been typed for an exact match. My friend said “but O+ is the universal donor for other + types and the doctor glared and said “I know that!!!”

It was like a scene from a bad soap opera but my friend remained steadfast now with her trusty CD player mostly obliterating the conversation that her sister and I were having with this physician.Finally, the surgeon entered the room and she was as kind as could be. Soon, my friend was wheeled away and the OR staff assured us they would change the CD to the recovery music once the surgery was finished. This, they did. We never expected these kinks in the process, but my friend has said that the music made such a difference in being able to tolerate these difficulties and that in the recovery room, she was able to recognize the music she had chosen. The familiarity provided comfort and reassurance to her that words could not have provided. Studies continue to come out that document this anecdotal report.

Please remember this when you or a friend needs surgery. It is so easy and so worthwhile. My “Music for Surgery “ audio tapes are intended to help prepare you mentally, emotionally and spiritually for surgery. They work well for the preop, operative and postop periods of your surgical experience. I also offer links to amazing music for purchase through Amazon online that can also help significantly. You won’t believe the results!


Music with Surgery: Why?


Why would you want music during surgery, ? As I travel the country talking with people about the importance of music during surgery,
there is one question that arises over and over. The question is a good one: why would you want music during surgery if you’re going to be asleep? Very logical question and luckily, the answer is very logical too. Music during surgery is not about entertainment; it is not about soothing a person or even comforting them. The whole point of using music during surgery is to relax the body so that less anesthesia is needed. Secondarily, when you have music coming through headphones, the music enters the brain through the eighth cranial nerve and entrains or synchronizes the heartbeat and breathing with the tempo of the music. For this reason, you want to choose music with the tempo of the healthy resting heartbeat. You also want to choose music that is purely instrumental, i.e., nothing with lyrics.

The third and final reason to use music through head- phones during surgery is to block out comments and conversation of the medical staff that might be negative or pessimistic and influence you subconsciously.

Today you can get my patented Surgical Serenity Headphones by going to or you can simply download the music!

Have a great week and keep the music playing!


Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW