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Patient Care, Research, Surgery

How music therapy may benefit surgery patients

Patients scheduled for a trip to the operating room may want to update their pre-procedure checklist to include “create surgery playlist.” A review study (subscription required) conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky offers more evidence that listening to music can reduce patients’ pain and aid in recovery.

In examining the use of music before, during and after surgery, researchers found that listening to tunes during all three stages proved beneficial. Overall, patients who listened to music were less anxious, required less sedative medication, recovered more quickly and reported better satisfaction with their medical experience. But while some studies show that listening to classical music could yield the most positive results, the latest findings underscore the importance of taking into account patients’ musical tastes. Psych Central reports:

The researchers say that music selected by trained personnel is preferred because specific guidelines should be followed to maximize the positive effect on patients, however the patient’s musical tastes should still be considered.

The researchers suggest that several playlists be offered so the patient can choose the one that best suits their tastes.

The researchers also note that the tempo, rhythm and volume of the music should be carefully controlled to maximize the positive effect. Calm, slow, gentle music was shown to produce the most positive results and facilitate relaxation and pain reduction in patients, they said.

Previously: The anxiety and pain reducing powers of Adele, Can music benefit cancer patients? and Prescription playlists for treating pain and depression?
Photo by William Brawley

2 Responses to “ How music therapy may benefit surgery patients ”

  1. Alice H. Cash, Ph.D. Says:

    I have been investigating the benefits of music during surgery for almost 25 years now and the benefits are undeniable. Because I think it is so important to be able to offer music to everyone, I have created playlists in different genres that patients can choose on my website. Although, I believe that classical usually works best across the board, we have created New Age and Jazz and are hoping to have one of instrumental hymns. Research shows that purely instrumental music is best because it allows the patients to relax better and not focus on lyrics. Check out the Surgical Serenity Solution.

  2. June Pegram Says:

    I had a full hysterectomy in 2005 at Stanford and my physician provided me with a cd to listen to in preparation for the surgery. The premise was to listen to the cd an follow the exercises provided along with the music. Having the music, prepared me in ways that I never would have dreamed- it actually changed my life, even to this day. There was no pre-op nervousness and before I knew it, I was in my recovery room still listening to the music. What a peaceful and relaxing way to enter something normally so stressful. My recovery was just as wonderful and I listened to the cd every night during recovery. Years later I find myself humming a few bars of the relaxation song to calm me down when I am tense. The cd has since been lost to me during several moves, but I truly wish I still had it. Music is very beneficial to the psyche and physical attributes towards preparation and healing and I will use it from now on…


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