Why do you need headphones and music during surgery?


Having surgery is a dangerous thing, but sometimes not having surgery is more dangerous.  If you’ve been told that you need to have surgery, there are certain risks you will want to be aware of:

Anesthesia reactions:

Most problems that arise during surgery are the result of the surgery, not the sedation for the procedure. While uncommon, there are very serious complications that can occur if a patient has a reaction to the anesthesia drugs.

Most problems associated with anesthesia are related to the process of intubation, or inserting the breathing tube.  Aspiration, or breathing food or fluid into the lungs, can be a problem, during surgery. Some patients also experience an increased heart rate or elevated blood pressure during the process.

The problem of anesthesia awareness has been discussed a great deal in the media, but waking during surgery or being awake throughout the surgery, is a very rare when anesthesia is provided by an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

Malignant hyperthermia, a reaction to anesthesia that causes the patient’s temperature to rise rapidly, is life threatening.  A patient who has had malignant hyperthermia in the past has a significant increase in risk and should discuss the issue with their surgeon and anesthesia provider. (information can be found on http://surgery.about.com/od/beforesurgery/a/RisksSurgery.htm)

How can music help?  When patients have begun relaxing before their procedure with slow, familiar, favorite   music, it is only natural that their bodies and muscles are not as tense and therefore the patient can be put to sleep more easily and with less anesthesia.  When the music is continued, through cordless headphones, througout the surgery, the patient’s body stays relaxed and music with a steady, slow pulse, synchronizes the heartrate and breathing.   Again, because the body is staying relaxed with the slow, steady music, less anesthesia is needed and the patient wakes up soon, still listening to the music through headphones, and requires less pain medication.

Several studies are in process right now, around the U.S. and doctors, hospitals, and patients are quite excited about the possibilities of a safer and a kinder procedure.  The headphones that I have programmed with the ideal music for surgery are available now and can be overnighted to you if you need them quickly.  If you have financial constraints, let me know and I will work with you to be able to get them.  One day, music and headphones will be available in hospitals around the world.  Don’t wait!


Fear of Anesthesia: How Can the Right Music Help?

Waiting for a Ceasarean-section childbirth

  As a therapist and a clinical musicologist, I talk to people nearly every day that have just been told that they need to have surgery and are almost more fearful of the anesthesia than they are of having surgery!  Why?  Because general anesthesia is very powerful medication and occasionally people do not survive the anesthesia.  The vast majority of people do fine, but if the patient is elderly or in a fragile health state already, it is a delicate balance.

How can music help?  Music therapy and Operating Room nursing journals have shown repeatedly shown that listening to your favorite calming, comforting, soothing music can make a very positive difference in your overall surgical experience.  There are also dozens, if not hundreds, of clinical studies showing that music in the recovery area can help the patient stay calm and comfortable as they regain consciousness and begin to feel the pain of the surgery.
Now, studies are being conducted to confirm that music DURING surgery can also make a positive difference and possibly decrease the amount of anesthesia needed to achieve the same degree of sedation, but without as much risk.  This is achieved by tapping into the power of rhythmic entrainment, by which the slow, steady tempo of the music brings the heartrate and the breathing into synchronization with the music and thereby keeps the body relaxed.
To learn more about the incredible power and benefits of music during anesthesia and surgery, please check out:  www.SurgicalHeadphones.com.

Music and Surgery: Music Medicine or Music Therapy?


Many people do not understand the difference between music medicine and music therapy.  To me, it’s not a big deal, but to some people it is a huge deal.  My mentor, Dr. Arthur Harvey, explained it to me like this:  in order to conduct a music therapy session, a music therapist must be present.  It is the therapeutic relationship between the music therapist “doing” music with the patient that creates the result.  Music therapy is what worked miracles with Gaby Giffords.  Music therapy is a wonderful, fantastic modality with many situations, especially situations needing rehabilitation.

This is not true with music medicine.  The use of music during surgery is an example of music medicine.  In this situation, the music, as chosen by a clinical musicologist for its unique properties and suitability for pre-surgery, surgery, and recovery works all by itself.  When played for the patient through wireless, lightweight headphones, well-documented benefits result!  The surgery suite needs a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and several nurses and surgery techs.  They do not need one extra person!

This may not sound earth-shaking to you, but in a litigious society, and a hospital community that is terrified of lawsuits and staph infections, the surgery headphones provide a lot of comfort and benefits for both patient and doctor.   The anesthesiologist gets the patient to sleep more easily because the patient is already relaxed by music.  The patients wake up faster and with fewer complications, because they required less anesthesia.  In recovery, they require less pain medication because the soothing music and the entrainment phenomenon have kept the patient relaxed and therefore they experience less pain.

We have two clinical trials in progress right now and are working with hospitals around the country to get our headphones into their operating rooms for all patients.  If you or a friend or a family member is having surgery, please be sure that they have the information about music and surgery!


Surgery with Music Series Post #23: Entrainment in Surgery

Entrainment and Surgery

Drs. Friedman and Cash at CCF

 To put it as simply as possible, entrainment in surgery is all about synchronizing.  The slow, steady tempo of the music entrains with the patient’s heartbeat and breathing.  Mostly we hear about rhythmic entrainment and brainwave entrainment.  When talking about music during surgery, both of the these types of entrainment are tapped.  The power of this during surgery comes from the slow, steady pulse of the music coming through the headphones.  In this instance, the synchronization begins when the patient can hear the music and feel the relaxation.  As they go into deeper states of “sleep” the vibrations of the slow, steady music keep the heartbeat and breathing entrained or synchronized with the pulse of the music.

The more relaxed the body is during surgery, the less anxiety medication, pain medication and even less anesthesia is required.  The less medication the patient requires,  the safer the procedure will be and the faster the patient will recover.  It’s so easy and so logical, that it has been overlooked for many, many decades.  Now people are beginning to understand how entrainment works and tap into the power of musical entrainment.

Rhythmic entrainment is a core principle of music therapy.  Many years ago I was introduced to the concepts of music therapy and began to realize that this was so powerful and yet so simple.  It’s the same phenomenon that makes people clap their hands to music, or sway gently, tap their toes or fingers.  When listening to many kinds of music, the urge to entrain is almost irresistible!  For many years I thought about all of the many ways the power of rhythmic entrainment might be harnessed for medical benefits.  When I finally decided to create a surgical playlist that would induce this phenomenon, I knew that I had come up with an idea that could really make a big contribution to health and healing.

Will you be next?


How does entrainment work?


Entrainment is the main reason why music during surgery works! In the process of entrainment, your body’s natural rhythms such as heart-rate and breathing, automatically synchronize with the pulse of music. In an everyday example, when you hear strongly rhythmic music such as high-energy disco music, rock-and-roll, or a Sousa march, you automatically start tapping your toe, bobbing your head or actually dancing!

Research in music therapy has proven time and again that the body responds to music even when in a coma state or asleep. When you are under general anesthesia, you can still be tense, anxious and require the maximum safe dose of anesthesia. When you have slow, steady, soothing music coming into your brain through headphones, your body automatically relaxes and entrains with that music, thus allowing you to take the MINIMUM safe amount of anesthesia.

My “Surgical Serenity Headphones” have only been on the market for 5 months, but already word is spreading and they are selling every day. If you are interested in using these for your surgery, but feel that you can’t afford them, contact me and I will work something out with you! To read more about them click here.


How music affects the body during surgery


Why use music during surgery? This is one of the frequent questions asked when I go out into the world and quite understandable. In our society, music is thought of primarily as entertainment. Yes, people put it on their iPod or car CD player or home stereo system to chill-out, energize, or just as background music to their day.
Our world is full of music: TV, radio, movies and the ubiquitous iPod but music can also have powerful therapeutic benefits. When used during surgery music can help make the heart rate steady, the breathing steady, and the blood pressure moderate and steady. As a result, you will need less anesthesia to stay relaxed and sound asleep during your procedure. If this sounds too good to be true, just Google “music and surgery research” to see the hundreds of studies that have been conducted on this. There is absolutely no doubt about music’s effectiveness!
If you’d like to get the music that I have carefully and scientifically chosen for surgery, click on the link in the upper left corner. You can download it directly to your iPod or other MP3 player! Don’t hestitate to contact me with any questions. Best wishes for your successful surgery!

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