I frequently get questions about which music works best for surgery. Unfortunately, that’s not a simple question because musical taste is so personal. But, I can definitely give you a few insights into this process:
1. What kind of music is best for surgery?
Research has shown that music that has a slow, steady tempo, like that of the healthy resting heart-beat is best. Also, this music should be purely instrumental, i.e., no lyrics. This is because lyrics engage the left side of the brain and we tend to start analyzing the music and not just relaxing.
2. Is a person’s age a factor in choosing the best music?
Definitely! People tend to like the music that they grew up with and therefore will relax best with music that they have positive associations with. We will soon introduce music from a wide variety of eras.
3. Does the type/genre of music matter?
What matters most is that the music be slow and steady with no lyrics. Music that fits this description can be found in jazz, R & B, Easy Listening, New Age, classical and many others.
4. What if the doctors are playing their own music?
Doctors have been playing music in the OR for several decades now. Unfortunately, the music they usually play has a faster tempo than what the patient needs and oftentimes it has lyrics that are not really conducive to relaxation.
5. Can I just download your music onto my iPod?
Absolutely. The current surgery soundtrack has been chosen specifically because it matches all the above criteria. The current music is classical piano music but has been chosen because the style is familiar but the specific pieces are largely unfamiliar. This is because it’s possible that someone who has played a well-known piano piece (like Fur Elise) and had a memory slip or some other mistake, does not want to be reminded of that during surgery. If a person has time and means to have a personal consult with me, we can create together their ideal playlist for surgery!
Hope this helps you with your decision of whether or not to use music during your surgery. Knowning that something so simple can help you to use less anesthesia, less anxiety meds and less pain medication makes it a very attractive option!