What IS the Surgical Serenity Solution?


You’ve probably just found out that you, or a loved one, needs to have have surgery.  No one WANTS to have surgery, but sometimes you just can’t get better without it.  You may have heard that using music during surgery can improve the outcomes; make the overall results better.  This is where the Surgical Serenity Solution comes in.  The Surgical Serenity Solution is a method for having the ideal slow, steady, soothing, purely instrumental music playing for the patient through cordless, lightweight headphones.  They were conceived of by a clinical musicologist, with years of experience helping surgical patients choose their ideal music.

Eight years later, hundreds of people have used our method and headphones for surgeries of all kinds, and with outstanding results.  Dozens of studies are out there, documenting music’s power to reduce, anxiety, amount of anesthesia needed, and pain perception afterwards.  Not only that, but when you have less anesthesia and less pain medication but also have less nausea and vomiting and you go home a lot sooner.

The Surgical Serenity Solution is gradually spreading around the country and the globe.  Get this solution for yourself!  You’ll be so glad you did.  Check out the patient testimonials here:  https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/testimonials/.


More FAQs about the Surgical Serenity Solution


We started selling our Surgical Serenity Solution in April of 2009.  From the moment we began letting the public know about our method for decreasing anxiety before surgery and thereby decreasing the need for as much anesthesia, people immediately “got it” and began ordering the pre-programmed headphones and proprietary music.

Certain questions come up over and over, so I thought I’d do a new post for you, outlining some of the basic questions that people want to know about the headphones.

1.  Are you sure the doctor will let me take these headphones into surgery?

99% of doctors let their patients take our headphones into surgery.  Our downloadable article on “Talking to you doctor about using music in surgery” goes a long way in allaying their fears.  Occasionally a doctor says that he’s worried about an electrical arc between cauterizing tools and the headphones, but anesthesiologists have assured us that it’s much more likely to occur with corded headphones than our cordless headphones.  They’ve now been used in hundreds of different surgeries and it’s never happened!  But you really do need to mention this in advance and not just bring them at the last minute.

2.  What’s the point of having music during my surgery if I’m asleep with general anesthesia?

Medical studies and patient case histories document that the patient “hears” and responds, even if subconsciously, to sound that go on in surgery.  Joint replacement surgery includes hammering, drilling, and sawing.  Those sounds and vibrations enter the patients body and subconscious, so having soothing, calm music entering your brain through the 8th cranial nerve is a huge plus.  In addition, the body rhythms of heart beat and breathing, entrain or synchronize to the pulse of the music, even if you’re under general anesthesia or in a coma.  This phenomenon of rhythmic entrainment is at the heart of the Surgical Serenity Solutions.

3.  Isn’t it better if I pick my own favorite music for my surgery?

If you are a professional musician, a music therapist, or a seasoned amateur, you probably could choose your own music.  But then, do you have access to a lightweight, behind the neck, cordless, programmable headset?  There is only one company that makes these headphones, and as I mentioned above, anything with a cord or wire is more prone to creating an electrical arc.

4.  I’ve heard that the surgeon will be playing his own favorite music.  Won’t that interfere?

That’s the beauty of the patient wearing headphones.  With the patients ears covered, the music is entering their brain through the 8th cranial nerve and greatly muffling the sounds of either surgeons’ music or staff conversations that the patient doesn’t need/want to hear.  Many surgeons still operate on the assumption that patient is “asleep” to their music and conversations, but case studies tell us frquently that patients do hear a disturbing amount.  A surgeon here in Louisville, KY was reported to be playing “Another One Bites the Dust” by QUEEN.  Do YOU want that to be playing during your surgery?

5.  My surgery is going to last for 5-6 hours.  Will the music last that long?

Our proprietary playlist is about 90 minutes long.  It is set to loop over and over on the headphones and the headphones have been know to play 18-20 hours on one battery charge.  So yes, a 5-6 hour surgery would not be a problem at all!

I hope that we’ve answered some of your most concerning questions.  If you have others, you can contact me through this blog and I will get back to you promptly!  Thank you for learning more about the Surgical Serenity Solutions!

best opening video


Redheads and Anesthesia: There is a difference for them!

Redheaded woman

Yes, redheads do require more anesthesia

Anesthesia is a tricky thing.  And now that we have the internet you can literally scare yourself to death reading horror stories online about anesthesia mishaps, people who woke up during surgery or patients who had the wrong body part removed.  And now there’s something new to be concerned with.   Are you a redhead?  Are you about to have general anesthesia?  You may have heard that redheads require more anesthesia and after just a little bit of researching, you’ll find that it’s true!  Why?  Here’s what one researcher has to say:

Dr. Daniel I. Sessler, an anesthesiologist and chairman of the department of outcomes research at the Cleveland Clinic, said he began studying hair color after hearing so many colleagues speculate about redheads requiring more anesthesia.

“The reason we studied redheads in the beginning, it was essentially an urban legend in the anesthesia community saying redheads were difficult to anesthetize,” Dr. Sessler said. “This was so intriguing we went ahead and studied it. Redheads really do require more anesthesia, and by a clinically important amount.”

After publishing research on the topic, Dr. Sessler began hearing from redheads who complained about problems with dental pain and fear about going to the dentist. He said that when someone with red hair is considering a dental or other procedure requiring an anesthetic, they should talk to their doctor about the high probability that they are resistant to anesthetics.

“Because they’re resistant, many redheads have had bad experiences,” Dr. Sessler said. “If they go to the dentist or have a cut sutured, they’ll need more local anesthetic than other people.”

One of my redheaded friends was so relieved to hear this because she says now she won’t feel so bad when she tells the dentist that she can still feel what he is doing to her and yes, that she still does need more novocaine!  Hopefully, this will help many redheads to understand why they need more pain relief.

Which brings me to my next point.  If you are a redhead and need to have surgery ,are you concerned that you will require more anesthesia?  Fears about anesthesia include, being given too much anesthesia and not waking up afterwards; being given too little anesthesia and waking up before surgery is finished; being resistant to anesthesia and waking up enough to feel and hear what is happening but not being able to say anything.  Although all of these scenarios are extremely unlikely, they do happen and merit some careful thought about how to proceed.  Be sure to talk with your physician about your options.

After more research, I understand that it’s not that redheads are more resistant to anesthesia, but that they metabolize it faster and therefore need more anesthesia, analgesics, novocaine, or whatever it might be.  To order these headphones for YOUR hospitals, go to https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/12-pre-loaded-headphones-for-hospitals/

listening to the calming, rhythmic entrainment music prior to surgery

Patient calms down before surgical procedure with music rather than benzodiazepines

Make sure that the patients at YOUR hospital have the very best and latest equipment to get them through their surgery or procedure with as little pain and discomfort as possible.  You can also let your patients know about our mobile app, which has 5 different, hour-long playlists, in 5 different genres, to get them through their procedures!  Just go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/calm.


Will my surgeon let me use music in the operating room?


Great question!  Many people fear that even if they want to use their own music in the Operating Room, their doctor won’t allow it because of concerns with germs, cleaniliness, or some sort of interference with their equipment.  Let me address these concerns, one by one:

Possible Concerns of the Surgeon

Could music through headphones or an iPod/MP3 play introduce germs into the surgical field?  I have been told repeatedly by surgical personnel, that everything in the OR does NOT have to be sterilized.  Only the instruments that go inside the patient music be sterilized.  The table, floor, lamps, etc. are disinfected but not sterilized.  Although the headphones that each person uses are brand-new and not touched by human hands once packaged, my recommendation that you order them several days in advance allows you to practice relaxing with them at home and get used to turning them off and on and adjusting the volume.  So that when you arrive at the hospital, they will likely be wiped down with disinfectant anyway, but can also easily fit under the cap that the patient wears over their own hair and head.

Even in 2005, there were a few surgeons who would balk at the idea of bringing an ipod or headphones in the to the OR, but today, the benefits of the right kind of music in surgery, are so well documented that it is not an issue.  Also, the fact that probably the majority of surgery now have music playing in the OR, makes it seem more natural for the patient to bring his music in.  Especially for regional anesthesia or local anesthesia, it makes sense to let the patient bring in the music that will be comforting for them.

Why It Works

Rhythmic entrainment is so powerful and so well-documented that there is no questions that slow, steady, soothing music will calm a person down by slowly and regulating their breathing.  You have a couple of choices.  You can choose your favorite slow, steady, instrumental music and load it onto your iPod, or you can purchase cordless, preprogrammed headphones to take into surgery and they will last you for 5-10 years, and can be re-loaded with whatever music you like.

UPDATE:  In 2021 you can order or download our new book “Having Surgery?  Using Music to Decrease Anxiety and Pain Perception” or you can now download our new mobile app and sample five different playlists we have created for surgery in different genres


Having Surgery?  Now available in the the Kindle Store!


Serenity Music Playlists now available in Apple App Store


Surgical Serenity Solutions helps hospitals and medical facilities that offer surgery increase patient satisfaction as well as reduce anxiety and pain perception, using carefully curated music that harnesses the power of rhythmic entrainment to stabilize heart rate and breathing.

Best wishes on your surgery and let me know if I can help you or answer any questions!



Prepare for Surgery: The “Lost” Tool

Patients wearing our headphones

Prepare for surgery

Preparing for surgery is something that no one really wants to do, but taking the “ostrich” approach   doesn’t work either!  If you need surgery for whatever reason, you might as well educate yourself  about ways that you can make the process easier and more effective!  One of the tools that humans and physicians from ancient times have used is music!  Why?  Because music soothes, comforts, calms, and relaxes the body and mind simultaneously.  When the mind and body are calm, it takes less anesthesia, less pain medication and less anxiety medication to get you through the procedure, whever that procedure might be. Is this just a theory of mine?  Absolutely not!  Just go to www.pubmed.gov and do a simple search for “music with surgery.”  I just did it and came up with 1003 citations!!  Still, most patients and even many, many physicians don’t realize how potent music is, in it’s ability to help the patient calm down and have a better result from their surgery.  The news media seem to rush to publish the catastrophic disasters encountered during surgery, but how often do they publish simple tips for people who are preparing to have surgery?  Music is an oft overlooked addition to the tool-kit.  Don’t YOU be one to forget about music!  You can make your own playlist or purchase headphones that are already pre-programmed and ready-to-go!  Please contact me here if I can help!


Preparing for plastic surgery with music


Preparing for plastic surgery with music.  Nearly every day I read a new source online where people are recommending music either before, during or after surgery. Of course my recommendation is to have all three. Music during the perioperative period is powerful!  And now that Surgical Serenity Solutions is a reality, more and more plastic and cosmetic surgeons are buying the pre-programmed headphones, and branding them for their practices.  Here’s an excerpt from another blog recommending music:
Written by Cathy Enns on February 5, 2009 – 3:26pm
As a plastic surgery writer, I’ve had the chance to talk with dozens of women about their experiences. While sharing feelings of excitement, anxiety and more, many have offered advice for others about preparing for surgery.
Let’s assume you’ve navigated the initial part of the process. You’re confident in your choice of plastic surgeon and surgical plan, and you have a date for the procedure. Now what? How can you help ensure smooth sailing?
Obviously, it’s vital to have your medications ready. Fill all prescriptions your surgeon writes, even if you don’t think you’ll use them. If it turns out you need something you don’t have on hand, chances are good you won’t feel much like visiting the pharmacy.
Think about other products that may make recovery easier. You may benefit from having certain creams or lotions at home. If you’re having facial plastic surgery, eye drops can soothe scratchy eyes.
Another important task is to choose a friend or loved one to help you. Your surgeon will require that someone drive you home after surgery, especially if you have general anesthesia. You should also plan to have someone stay overnight to help you with medications and to be there in case of problems.
The more invasive your procedure, the more you’ll want to have a loved one around to help for a few days. If you have children or pets to care for, it’s a relief to have someone else on the front lines. Remember that you’ll need plenty of rest and you’ll move a little more slowly at first. If you have breast or abdominal surgery, you won’t be able to lift much right away.
Finally, prepare your home to welcome you back. Most women like to return to a clean house, so apply some elbow grease before surgery. Put clean sheets on the bed and have soft pillows and throws for extra comfort. Stock up on food that’s easy to prepare and easy on your system. Have books and magazines you look forward to reading on hand, and some music or maybe a book on tape to listen to.
The first few days after surgery may be somewhat uncomfortable as your body adjusts and recovers, but preparing in advance can make all the difference. Turn your post-op period into a pleasant time of rest and relaxation.


One of my dreams has come true!!


I am so excited and thrilled to announce the yesterday I was notified that my invention for delivering music during surgery has received a patent from the U.S. Patent Office. Needless to say, there are lots of small details ( like paying ANOTHER $1,000.00!!!) but now I can market the invention as a unique, proven, and patented device for surgery!!! HOORAY!!! It’s been a 3 1/2 year journey and I was turned down so many times in the beginning that I thought it might not happen at all. But as of yesterday around noon, the tides have turned and now I can begin looking for angel investors! Wouldn’t you like to invest in a simple device that will revolutionize the OR because of it’s proven ability to decrease the amount of anesthesia, anxiety medication and pain medication…all through music? I can only let a limited number of people join me in this venture so contact me at chantdoc@healingmusicenterprises.com if you are interested! HOORAY!!!


Music Surgery Soundtrack to be released shortly!


I am sooo excited friends! I’ve put together the first in a series of downloadble soundtracks for surgery! This music will be available from a new page on my website and for those who are not adept at downloading music, I will also preprogram MP3 players for you to take directly into surgery. I’m working on the Ebook for Music and Surgery right now and putting the finishing touches on it. Please let all of your friends and families know about this exciting release. Surgery is an important and usually necessary event but it doesn’t have to be as dangerous. Numerous studies document that patients listening to slow, steady, instrumental music through headphones (or earbuds!) need less anesthesia and anesthesia is one of the things people have to recover from!!
Please stay tuned!!

Live piano music in surgery? Why not??


By Helen Altonnmailto:haltonn@starbulletin.com?subject=http://starbulletin.com/2008/06/25/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.
The paper can be seen on http://www.medscape.com/.

Seven Spiritual Ways to Prepare for Surgery


This article appeared in Positive Thinking and was written by Paul Sterman.
My wife, Joelle, was scheduled for surgery to remove her right adrenal gland in three months, and she was terrified. “Every night I’d wake up and my heart would be racing,” she recalls. “Fear would come over me. And panic.”It’s a common reaction when facing a medical procedure. Some people are psychologically scarred by a past experience. Others fixate on the pain they might suffer, or like Joelle, on the helplessness of anesthesia. “I was afraid of not waking up or feeling really disoriented,” she says. “It’s that loss of control that’s so scary.”If you’re a stressed-out patient like my wife was, there’s hope. You can take steps to face down your fears. Joelle did, and they made a dramatic difference. Her strategies:Don’t deny your fearSheila Messina, an R.N. who has had a dozen major surgeries, says it’s helpful to recognize your anxiety and get your feelings out in the open. Stay connected with your friends and family. A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that patients with a large support network feel less anxiety and pain prior to operations and have a quicker, smoother recovery.Ask questionsTalk to your physician and to other patients. Joelle peppered her doctor, Christopher Ng, M.D., of Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, with questions. His answers gave her a better idea of what to expect. Dr. Ng also put her in touch with patients who’d undergone the same operation. Talking to them “made me feel like I wasn’t alone,” Joelle says. “They survived—so could I.”Meet your anesthesiologistMessina does this well ahead of an operation and is honest with the specialist about her fear, because it can affect her response to anesthesia. “We tend to become hypertensive when we are fearful, which can make recovery more complicated,” she writes in her essay “Making Friends With Fear” in the journal Nutrition.Practice daily relaxation in the weeks leading upto surgeryJoelle used the techniques in psychotherapist Peggy Huddleston’s book and CD, “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster.” Huddleston recommends daily relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, meditation and guided imagery (picturing positive images in your mind, like a tranquil scene on a lake or the face of a person who makes you happy). Once you get the hang of these techniques, you can use them in the hospital to bring inner peace.Have a loved one keep you company before the operationWhat’s the best thing friends and family can do? “Just stay there with them, hold their hand, have them take deep breaths,” says Cathy Smith, an R.N. for Fairview Southdale Hospital in Minnesota. “They might need to cry a little or talk about their fears.”Listen to music during pre-opResearch shows music reduces anxiety and blood pressure in hospital patients. It helps people focus on something other than their worries and the hospital noises around them, Smith notes. “Some even play music during their operation,” she adds. “It brings them calmness and makes the heart rate slower, which is a good thing because it means less sedation may be needed.” She says that ritual music, such as Tibetan chants, is particularly effective, but the important thing is to choose whatever makes you feel relaxed and uplifted. Joelle made a mix tape that included disco tunes, numbers from The Lion King and “slow songs we danced to at our wedding.”Bring a little piece of home to the hospitalHuddleston suggests taking along photos and other belongings that help you feel comforted, relaxed and secure. Joelle brought a special blanket and a photograph from our honeymoon in Yosemite.All of the effort my wife put into learning what she could do to combat her fear about surgery paid off on the day of the operation. “I felt almost a calmness that morning,” Joelle says. She came through the surgery with flying colors.
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