Surgery with Music Series: Post #4 “Side-effects of surgery”


 No one wants to have surgery, but sometimes it really is necessary if you want to continue with your life.  Surgical procedures have dramtically improved over the last 50-60 years and most surgeries are completed with no problems whatsoever.  Unfortunately, even when the surgery is completely successful, recovery from surgery can be difficult and stressful.

Of course there is no such thing as a “typical surgery.”  Surgery includes everything from a Cesarean section for deliver a baby to heart bypass surgery, to joint replacements.  No matter what the surgery, certain after-effects can be expected:  nausea, pain, grogginess, sleepiness, tiredness, weakness, dizzyness, difficulty walking, stand, sitting, sleeping and many more.  Luckily these things don’t last forever, but often there is a correlation with how long these side-effects last and how much anesthesia the patient had.  It’s hard to separate the side-effects of surgery from the side-effects of anesthesia, but we do know that the less anesthesia you can get by with, the faster you’ll recover and also have the least number of side-effects.

One of the best ways to reduce the likely amount of anesthesia you’ll need is to use music through headphones for 30-60 minutes before your surgery begins.  This allows your body to slow down and relax and when you begin the procedure already relaxed, less anesthesia will be required to put you under.  It’s important that the music be very steady, purely instrumental music with the tempo of the healthy resting heartbeat.  This way, your own heartbeat and breathing can synchronize or entrain with the music you’re hearing through headphones.

If you continue to wear the headphones into the recovery area, research shows that there can be a greatly reduced amount of pain medication needed…another way to keep you from experiencing nearly as many of the side-effects.  If you or a friend has surgery scheduled, please consider using music with your surgery!


Music and Surgery 30-day series: Post #2 “Fears about Surgery”


So you’ve just been told that you need to have surgery.  The fears and anxiety are running through your mind and all over your body like an army of tiny spiders.  THINK of all the things that might go wrong!  You could end of paralyzed, you could end up dead!  They may take the wrong thing out and leave you with a damaged or sick body part.  Maybe the anesthesia will not work but they don’t know it and you feel every single knife stroke and pull.  Enough!

Chances are, everything will be just fine.  Serious accidents and mistakes in surgery are truly rare, but they do happen.  How can you help yourself in this situation?  By doing exactly what you’re doing…going to the internet and searching for high-quality information about your specific type of situation and the recommended surgery.  You might also want to get a second or even a third opinion!  I was recently told that I needed plastic surgery on my face to remove a cyst.  I visited a plastic surgeon who confirmed this.  Then I visited a second plastic surgeon who said “I wouldn’t rush into that.  I’d give it 8-9 months and see how it does.”  I was never so relieved in my life!  I’ll probably wait at least another month or so now and then visit one more plastic surgeon for a consult. 

In the final analysis, it’s your body and only you can decide this.  If you DO decide to proceed, one thing you can do before, during and after surgery is to take in lightweight, cordless headphones that are pre-programmed with the best music for surgery.  This music has been tested around the world and the consensus is unanimous.   Every person has said that they would use them again! 

No one wants to have surgery, but if surgery is needed, add some soothing, calming, comforting music to the equation!  You can end up having less anesthesia, less pain medication and an overall more positive experience!


The beginnings of a 30-day series on Music with Surgery


Dr. Cash was brought in to the Cleveland Clinic Florida to teach surgeons and anesthesiologists about music and surgery

More and more people around the world are becoming aware of the many benefits of music during surgery.   It’s  a strange paradox because you know that music affects you powerfully and that you can easily reach for the music you love best, whether to relax you or energize you.  However, you have been told by “the professionals” that when you’re under general anesthesia that your hearing chut downs and you can’t hear anything.  And so, for decades no one thought that music during surgery made any sense.

The problem is, there are hundreds and hundreds of personal stories from patients who have been under general anesthesia waking up and realizing that they did hear conversations going on.  Patients say that they heard things that they wish they had not heard.  There is no question that when people have certain surgeries such as joint replacement surgery–hip replacements, knee replacements, shoulder replacements–there is actually hammering, drilling and sawing going on.  Who wants to hear that?

Why is music during general anesthesia a good idea?  All because of the phenomenon of rhythmic entrainment!  Scientists have known of this powerful phenomenon for hundreds of years, but apparently, no one considered that if the patient listened through headphones to music that has a slow, steady pulse and a relaxing mood, that their heartrate and breathing would entrain or synchronize with that music and keep the patient more relaxed.  When the patient is more relaxed, less anesthesia and analgesia is needed and the patient can have a safer procedure and return to work or home faster. 

There are so many other benefits as well and also there are copious benefits for regional anesthesia, local anesthesia and for many other medical procedures.  Stay tuned for this unique and ground-breaking series on the use and benefits of music during surgery!  Also, feel free to post any questions or comments you might have!


Can Heart Surgery Make You More Emotional?


Robin says heart surgery "broke his barrier" and made him more emotional

About 15 years ago, my mother underwent an emergency heart-bypass surgery.  The surgeons said they wouldn’t know how many arteries they had to bypass until they got in there.  When they did get in, they found that five by-passes were necessary!  It was a long surgery, but she did use music and said she would never again have surgery without using music!

When I visited her in the recovery area, less than an hour after her surgery, she said things to me she had never said…things that were very loving and sweet and it consumed me with joy and happiness that I had never felt before.  My mother has never been a demonstrative person, but it was as though the surgery removed an emotional blockage in her heart that allowed her to be affirming and loving and sweet in a way that I had always longed for!

(as quoted on  The Hollywood actor famously underwent open-heart surgery early last year, when one of his valves was replaced with that of a pig. Although Robin has recovered now, the star admits the experience hugely changed him as a person, putting him far more in touch with his feelings.

“Oh, God, you find yourself getting emotional. It breaks through your barrier, you’ve literally cracked the armour. And you’ve got no choice, it literally breaks you open. And you feel really mortal,” he told British newspaper The Guardian.

Since he first found fame in the 70s, Robin has enjoyed a long acting career and is considered one of the most hardworking stars in the movie industry. He has appeared in movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets’ Society and The Fisher King.

But since experiencing ill health last year, 59-year-old Robin says he wants to take his professional life far more slowly. He regrets making so many movies during the 90s, although he doesn’t pinpoint any particular films.

Robin accepted so many roles because he was worried his fans would forget him, and he fears this made him take parts he perhaps didn’t value artistically.

“In one two-year period I made eight movies. At one point the joke was that there’s a movie out without you in it. You have this idea that you’d better keep working otherwise people will forget. And that was dangerous. And then you realise, no, actually if you take a break people might be more interested in you. Now, after the heart surgery, I’ll take it slow,” he explained.


Surgeon reports that music during surgery has many benefits


By TERRY RINDFLEISCH/La Crosse Tribune –

Jane Zellmer was anxious about her second knee replacement surgery.

The first surgery on her left knee was done under general anesthesia. She said she doesn’t do well under general anesthesia, and she had a difficult time waking up and was nauseous the first time.

This time the 54-year-old Ettrick, Wis., woman wanted spinal anesthesia, which would allow her to be conscious while numbing her right knee.

Zellmer also chose music to help with her anxiety and make her relax. Mike Jacobson, a nurse anesthetist at Franciscan Skemp, had a library of music from which she could pick. She chose her favorite music, country, and a favorite artist, George Strait.

With her headphones on, she listened to Strait’s music during surgery.

“It was very calming listening to the music, and I was comfortable,” Zellmer said. “I was nervous about the spinal anesthesia, but the music helped me relax.

“I felt like I was lying in the sun with headphones on,” she said. “Music did its thing, and it was a place to go, something to escape into. The spinal anesthesia and music worked real well together.”

For several years, a number of hospitals, including Franciscan Skemp and Gundersen Lutheran, have offered music to patients during surgery. Zellmer heard about the use of music through a friend who listened to music during surgery at Gundersen Lutheran.

More and more hospitals are using music for patients because research is showing it helps reduce moderate pain and anxiety, and it might result in less sedation and faster recovery.

A Yale University showed patients listening to music required much less sedation during surgery. Another study showed listening to music helps minimize the rise in blood pressure associated with surgery. Researchers say the best results are likely to come from people being able to listen to the music of their own choice rather than being given music thought to be soothing.

For many years, surgery rooms have been filled with the sound of music selected by and for surgeons.

“Music often helps surgeons relax, and some like it for background music,” Jacobson said. “One surgeon likes very loud rock ’n’ roll.

“Patients have their own music option, but it’s the surgeon’s choice in the room,” he said. “I’ve never been asked what I want to hear, but I think whatever music helps the surgeon is a good choice.”

Dr. Mark Connelly, a Gundersen Lutheran facial plastic surgeon, has played music in his operating room for more than 25 years. He has a CD of Broadway show tunes, pop, country and classical music.

“The music is soothing, and it helps me relax,” Connelly said.

“Occasionally, the staff will sing along to ‘Stand By Your Man,’” he said. “Surgeons get to choose the music, but it’s nice when the operating group likes it.”

Jacobson is one of the DJs at Franciscan Skemp. He is in charge of a cart of CDs from which patients can choose, or they can bring in their own CDs.

“Some people like country, some like classical and some New Age, but more patients like soothing music,” Jacobson said. “Music does help calm the patient.”

Dr. Marisa Baorto, a Franciscan Skemp anesthesiologist, said music is used in conjunction with “conscious sedation,” such as spinal and regional anesthesia, for surgeries such as foot, carpal tunnel, knee replacement and breast biopsies.

Baorto said some pregnant women bring in their own music to listen to during labor.

“A lot of patients enjoy the music, and then they don’t have to hear what’s going on in surgery,” Baorto said. “Music helps them phase out and get less sedation.”

Jacobson said he can tell the difference in patients who enjoy the music.

“We can tell the patient is more calm,” Jacobson said. “I don’t think it is fluff. There are benefits to the patient, even some benefits during general anesthesia.”


Another Surgery Headphones satisfied customer


More and more, I am asking people to be sure and let me know what their experience was with the Surgical Serenity Headphones. This dear man surprised me yesterday by posting a video testimonial on my Facebook page!

I am so gratified by the publics reaction to my headphones and thrilled that people are suggesting new uses for them to me on a regular basis. I am always happy to do an email or telephone consultation with people that are considering using the headphones! Just let me know if you are interested or curious!


Music in the Hospital


Shakespeare once said: “If music be the food of love, play on.” the power of music on the human mind is enormous. Music therapy is the use of music for therapeutic purposes, administered by a trained professional or an ordinary human with loving intent. The idea of using music as a healing influence dates back to the time of Plato and Aristotle. In today’s world, the field of music therapy has emerged as musicians played as volunteers for war veterans being treated for physical and emotional trauma. Since most patients responded well, nurses and doctors began requesting the services of musicians for daily or weekly sessions.

Music therapy has become known as an effective and scientifically proven treatment. The graduate program of music therapy had been established by 1944 in the state of Michigan. An American-trained music therapist gauges the emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning and cognitive skills through the patient’s reactions to the music. After the evaluation is complete, a practitioner designs music sessions for individuals or groups. Therapeutic music is made and the client’s needs using music improvisation, song writing, lyric discussion, imagery and music therapy can be used for healing purposes. Music can be used to reach children and adolescents. elderly and disabled people in developing and studying people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and age-related problems and acute pain in humans also benefit from music therapy. Music therapy is an effective way to help people express feelings who otherwise would not have a good outlet. Professional music therapy is commonly found in rehabilitation facilities, psychiatric hospitals, medical hospitals, drug and alcohol programs, housing, prisons, schools and institutions.

Some people mistakenly believe that patients need some particular music ability to receive therapeutic benefit from music therapy but that is definitely not the case!   Also, there is no one specific style of music that is more therapeutic than the rest.   Every style of music can be just as effective, depending on what type of music the individual patient likes.   Anybody can be a patient.  We never know when illness or an accident might strike.  The  patient’s background, needs, and history will help determine the type of music is needed and wanted.   Healthy people can also use the healing powers of music for simply energizing or calming themselves. Listening to or making music, playing, or drumming can significantly reduce stress and improve productivity.   Studies show that music is extremely important to encourage physical exercise. Music therapy is even said to help those working in the hospitals, music therapy is used to relieve pain and is often used in conjunction with anesthesia or pain medication.



Music and Surgery coming to Lexington!


Dr. Jay Zwischenberger, UK chief of surgery, plays his harmonica. Staff and patients are said to find “Dr. Z’s” music a source of reassurance and comfort. June 13, 2008 Musicians have long known intuitively that experiencing the rhythms, harmonies and melodies of music —as listener or performer— can help mend the troubled mind, body and soul. And health professionals have long shared an intuitive understanding that this healing quality of music has a lot to offer medical science; witness the calming heart-rate monitors in a Savannah neo-natal ward as the regular visits of a harpist get underway. Now these enduring intuitions are converging to form the basis of an innovative program integrating the arts in health care at the new Chandler Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.


Hospitilizations and Music


I’ve just found out that my mother is back in the hopital. I’m so disappointed and sad because she seemed to be doing so well, but when you have multiple chronic conditions, it really is to be expected I guess. The picture here was made of my mother on her 82nd birthday just a little over a month ago. She was feeling just great then! Anyway, she will undoubtedly be listening to her favorite music while there but she’ll also be listening to basketball games on TV because she loves sports of all kinds!! I think when a person is in the hospital the best plan is to let them listen to what they choose but just be sure to offer lots of good music to them. I’ll keep you posted!
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