Many people ask me if the music on our Surgical Serenity Headphones is for the surgeon or the patient. Actually, quite a bit has been written about music for the doctor, whether focusing on the surgeon or the anesthesiologist. Very litle has been written about music for the patient!
The article that I will cite, shortly, is from 2011, and is written for the general public by an M.D. in San Francisco. Although this article is very interesting, no mention is made of the powerful phenomenon known as “rhythmic entrainment” which is at the heart of the Surgical Serenity Solution! When people or medical personnel think about music during surgery, they are mainly thinking of music being broadcast in the OR through speakers or perhaps an iPod on a speaker. The music is usually chosen by the surgeon and is in accordance with his taste.
How the patient might respond to it is not really foremost in their mind. The field of music therapy has conducted hundreds of scientific, empirical studies on the use of music in healthcare, medicine and wellness. Recently there has been an increase in the number of studies focusing on the use of music with the patient during surgery. Often these studies are looking at the use of a music therapist playing live music for the patient during surgery! Although it sounds wonderful, I’m not sure how practical it really is. The operating room is a rather small space as hospitals work to accomodate as many ORs as they safely can.
In any event, the music therapists are working with the patient before surgery to determine the patient’s taste in music as well as the music that will be most beneficial to them during their procedure. Then, a music therapist usually plays the chosen music on guitar and possibly sings? Music therapist friends, please correct me if this is wrong. If I were having surgery, I would love this! However, in a busy hospital with dozens of surgeries going on daily, I think it’s not likely to be available.
For that reason, knowing how to choose the music that will best entrain, or synchronize your heart-rate and breathing is so important. Or, you can always get the pre-programmed cordless headphones, with the ideal music already on them and waiting for you. That way, the surgeons and other staff can still have their music of choice! Your choice!
For more information on music in surgery, see http://www.salon.com/2011/03/07/poprx_music_in_operating_room/
If you are going to one of the cutting edge hospitals in the U.S. (and we’re not allowed to name the hospitals who have them waiting for you at this point) you might very well find the headphones there. Four of the largest hospital systems in the world either have the headphones or are seriously considering them for their patients. All you need to do is ask your surgeon if the hospital where your procedure is being done, utilizes the Surgical Serenity Solutions. He should know immediately whether they do or don’t.
One of the main reasons I had the idea to create pre-programmed, cordless headphones for the patient was for the patients convenience. I know that when I had surgery 20 years ago, I did not have a lot of advance notice. I was literally up all night the night before my back surgery, creating three cassette tapes for before, during and after my surgery. Because I was a clinical musicologist even then, I knew the benefits of steady, soothing, instrumental music in the surgical process. My surgeon was fascinated by all of this, and even though I used a Walkman, connected to headphones with a wire, the surgeon and anesthesiologist allow this in the OR.
In 2005, when the idea to create programmed, cordless headphones was born, one of my main reasons was so that patients who were likely already in pain and quite fearful of going under general anesthesia, could have easy access to music for their surgery that had been tested and approved by hundreds of people. Now we have this!
The headphones are getting national attention now and I do believe that one day they will be standard equipment in all hospitals. If your hospital does not have them waiting for you, please order yours now!! You will be so glad that you did!
To order: www.SurgicalHeadphones.com
This 70-year-old gentleman had undergone surgery many times and, although he wasn’t excessively anxious about his procedure, he was quite intrigued by the idea of using music with his surgery, especially since he is a huge fan of classical music. Here is his story:
Jim came to my office for about 30 minutes, a week before his surgery. We talked about his procedure and how music might positively affect the total experience. Jim is huge classical music afficianado, so when he found out that our proprietary music is classical, he was thrilled. When he was told that after his surgery, he could put any music he wanted on the headphones and continue to use them for probably another 5-10 years, he was excited!
After his serious surgery, Jim wanted to come back to my office to tell me his story. You’ll hear his story in the video above, but just let me encapsulate by saying that he was told before the surgery that it would probably take 4-5 hours. It took slightly less than 2! He was told that he would be in ICU for probably 3-4 days. After one night in ICU and continuing to wear his headphones, he was discharged from the hospital to his home in exactly 24 hours!
Of course Jim attributes all of this to his headphones and we are agreeing with him! Don’t you want to try them too?
To purchase your own: www.SurgicalHeadphones.com
People often ask me, when they first see the word “entrainment” if I meant “entertainment.” We all know what entertainment is, and because I am a performing musician, people assume that I have misspelled the word entertainment, but no, entrainment is very, very different!
Think of a time when you went to a concert of any kind and when the music started, the rhythmic nature of it made you start clapping, tapping or moving your whole body in synch with the rhythm! That’s entrainment! The phenomenon of entrainment was named in
In the Journal “Cortex” this was written as the abstract of an article on entrainment:
Wherever human beings live, and however they may organize their affairs, they gather
from time to time to sing and dance together, often in a ritual setting. In doing so they
synchronize their voices and bodily movements to a shared, repeating interval of time, the
musical pulse, beat or tactus. We take this capacity to “entrain” to an evenly paced stimulus.
(isochrony) so much for granted that it may come as a surprise to learn that from
a biological point of view such behavior is exceptional. But it is not altogether unique.
So how does this apply to surgery? One of the reasons that music is so powerful during surgery is that the pulse of the music entrains your heartbeat and breathing, even when you’re under general anesthesia. Many people believe that when you’re under anesthesia you can’t actually “hear” the music. That’s where the difference between entertainment and entrainment comes in.
The idea began to take shape in my mind that some people in comas had been observed for years, tapping a toe or foot or finger, in rhythm with music being played or sung in the room. Some people would awaken from lengthy comas, reporting that they ha indeed heard and appreciated music that was played or sung to them while in a coma.
After researching similar phenomena during surgery, I found that hundreds of people each year awaken from general anesthesia saying that they heard not only conversations during their surgery, but also music that was being played through speakers. They also heard, during certain surgeries, the sound of drills, hammers and saws!! This is when I began wondering if music that would start the entrainment process, played through super-lightweight headphones, might not be a wonderful thing.
Today, our Surgical Serenity Solution consists of just that. After researching the very best music for entrainment, I have come up with a playlist that is soothing, comforting, and starts the entrainment process. If you are having surgery in the near future, please consider getting yourself some!
Are you having surgery? Are you scared of the pain, the anesthesia, the time off work, the side-effects of all the medications you’ll be given? These are all common, and VALID concerns. Surgery is serious business, but there are times that it really must be done to improve quality of life, to prolong life, or to enhance life.
Over the past 5 or 6 decades, surgery has become a much safer endeavor as hospital OR conditions have improved and methods of sterilization and decontamination have stepped into the 21st century. Many companies have created tools to make the patient more comfortable during the entire procedure, from warming the sheets and giving the patient fuzzy foot-cover, to lightweight headphones that deliver specially-chosen music for surgery, wirelessly and cordlessly!
Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions that I get about the benefits of music during surgery:
- What are the benefits of music during surgery:
Patients using music (through cordless headphones) pre-surgery, during and after surgery, report less fear and anxiety medication before procedure, less anesthesia during surgery, and less pain medication after surgery. They also report fewer side-effects from the anesthesia, such as nausea and vomiting, and a faster return to home, work and life in general! In addition, when patient receives the music through headphones, the surgeon can have his own more upbeat music, and the patient isn’t affected by that. Also, conversations that the doctors and nurses have, that patient doesn’t want to hear, will be obscured. Finally, with Baby boomers having more and more joint replacement surgeries, patients don’t have to hear the drilling, sawing and hammering that goes on.
2. What are the drawbacks of music during surgery: absolutely none!
3. Do the headphones block all sounds in the OR?: No, the surgical headphones are intended to greatly decrease the OR noises, but during regional anesthesia and surgery, the patient can still hear questions that the doctor might need to ask.
4. Will my doctors approve of this? Most doctors do approve of the use of headphones during surgery. The surgeon and the anesthesiologist both need to give their approval. It is important to print out our free article entitled “How to Talk with Your Doctor about Using Music During Surgery.”
5. How did you choose the music on the headphones?: I have been helping patients choose their perfect music for surgery for almost 25 years. I had been reading about the benefits of music in reducing medication and calming the patient, but through my own personal research and experience, I discovered that slow, steady, soothing instrumental music, that has the tempo of the healthy, resting heartbeat is ideal. This is what get the entrainment process going, and even when the patient is under general anesthesia, the body’s heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure all tend to stabilize and synchronize with the slow, steady pulse of the music.
6. Can I continue to use them after surgery?: Yes. The headphones include a USB cable and charger so that after your surgery or other medical procedure, you can connect the headphones to your laptop and load hundreds more pieces or songs of your choice. With care, your headphones should last for many years!
The aging baby-boomer population is filling up the hospitals nowadays. Our joints, especially are simply wearing out and luckily, they can now be replaced! Imagine what it was like when joints wore out and people just had to live with it. Results of worn-out joints included becoming sedentary, depressed and eventually dying of pneumonia. Of course this didn’t happen to everyone, but many people, for centuries, did have this happen.
We do live in a miraculous time! With antibiotics, artificial knees and hips, and machines that can exercise our knees and our lungs for us, what more do we need? I think that a great addition to this picture is music.
Ample research exists that document music’s beneficial effects before, during and after surgery. When the music is delivered through cordless, pre-programmed headphones, it’s even better! Recently I met with a lady who desperately needed knee replacement but was so fearful and anxious that she almost didn’t have the surgery. She had heard about the Surgical Serenity Solution and because she lives here in Louisville, KY, I was able to hand-deliver them and talk with her about how different this would be from previous surgeries.
Listen as she describes what her experience was like:
It’s really exciting to see so many advances in surgery on the horizon, and although I don’t wish surgery on anyone, it definitely will be happening all day, every day, around the world. What I am most interested in is seeing that everyone has the best possible chance for a positive outcome!
Many astute and perceptive surgeons and anesthesiologists have realized for a long time that music is a powerful and effective addition to the surgical suite, but most were not sure how best to implement this idea. The idea of using lightweight, behind the neck headphones for the patient, while allowing ambient music delivery for the surgeon, is an ideal solution that will be seen more and more in 2014.
Some other new developments in general surgery include:
- Intraoperative radiation therapy for newly diagnosed breast cancer (December 2013)
- Tumor seeding following endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of pancreatic tumors
- Bedside ultrasound prior to skin abscess draining.
Can you imagine how helpful the soothing music headphones could be for patients undergoing any of the above procedures. And, of course, the calmer and more relaxed the patient is, the better the surgeon can do his or her job. It just makes sense to relax the patient with music before, during and after any surgical procedure with a method that has no side-effects and reduces recovery time as well as nausea and vomiting.