This post will be a departure from the recent music and learning topic, mainly due to recent experiences... This past week, I worked with two hospice patients who were very declined, one of which was actively dying. When doing hospice music therapy (I also work with autistic, pediatric and geriatric clients) this scenario is common. Often families, or even staff, will say something like "they won't hear the music, they're asleep..." So because this is a common response, and possibly because we might experience a situation where we want to use music ourselves, e.g., when we're having surgery or when we want to use music to relax, I want to address this topic. As I always say "a beautiful thing about music is, if you benefit from it, it is something you can use 24/7 with no side effects."
To start out with look to my
site and go to the bottom left of the home pg.
In the Resource Center scroll down to the MT Research Sheet (you can
print this off if you like). Here, numbers 1-6, 9 are areas of
research that either directly or in-directly deal with relaxation and
decreasing stress. Take note that the bottom paragraph mentions
"preferred music." That is the key to music benefiting any
of us. This means that when we want to purposefully use music - we
should chose it. If we don't choose it, new music that we're
experiencing has to “strike us” favorably. All of us have
different positive associations to (different) music. I mention this
because if we're going to benefit from music when we are asleep or
not responsive preferred music is a must.
Much music therapy (MT) research is done where individuals choose
their music then either during or after the listening (or playing)
experience data is collected. For years research has been done
studying individuals when they are sleeping, and (I think) more
significantly, when they are having surgery. Again, in the Resource Center scroll down to the MT Research Sheet. Look at # 9 which says
“Music has been clinically proven to: AID
IN SURGERY SETTINGS BY: DECREASING THE AMOUNT OF ANESTHESIA NEEDED;
DECREASING BLEEDING AND SPEEDING UP RECOVERY TIME.” The implication
(and fact) here is the music can induce a relaxation response. When
we are more relaxed our body does not expel the (toxic) anesthesia as
quickly therefore rendering what is given more effective resulting in
needing less – which speeds up recovery time. The decreased
bleeding happens because our heart is literally beating slower when
we are more relaxed. You get the picture. There is a lot of research
on this subject - such as...
Also, for years,
researchers have concluded that 90% of our cognitive (brain)
functioning is for sub-conscious activity such as breathing, heart
beat, etc... So can we hear when we're asleep, under anesthesia or
non-responsive? Maybe not consciously but very much so
sub-consciously! Again, there is a lot of research about this such
I see this all the time
in my hospice MT work. Patients and family members become more
relaxed and less stressed with (their favorite) music. That is why I
never hesitate to provide preferred music to someone who is
non-responsive. It most definitely (positively) affects their blood
pressure, heart rate, brain wave activity, etc. i.e., induces a
relaxation response as evidenced by the research cited. Also again,
go to the resource center on my site and look for the MT Stress
Management monograph to find information about entrainment. This
indicates more specific considerations regarding the purposeful use
of music for relaxation.
To summarize... because
PREFERRD MUSIC has been clinically proven to induce a relaxation
response... and because our sub-conscious perceives music (even when we're asleep or not conscious) thus
affecting our physiology and emotions positively... we should not
hesitate to use music for ourselves or loved ones, at least for
relaxation and sleep, but more specifically for surgery and dental
procedures and for when a loved one might be more critically ill and
And I am very excited to
be putting the finishing touches on my second music album for my site. It's called “Lyrical Imagery.” A free download of a song
from the album, “The Ocean,” and an explanation and rationale of
this project it there for your review. It is specifically for
relaxation and stress management.
My prescription this
week??? Grab the free download and use it to relax with. But listen to
it with NO DISTRACTIONS!!! Enjoy...
Please share with others, like us on Facebook and follow us on
Twitter ... Thanks, David P.