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Interventions using music relaxation techniques assisted by a music therapist

Several of the studies reviewed for this paper used assisted music interventions in the surgical area with direct interaction between the patient and a music therapist. Robb, Nichols, Rutan, Bishop & Parker (1995) studied pediatric patients hospitalized due to injuries from burns to determine the effects of music assisted relaxation on preoperative anxiety. Subjects in the experimental group received music assisted relaxation (MAR) with relaxation training and guided imagery. Under the direction of a music therapist, these subjects received music interventions before surgery, during transport to surgery and in the recovery room. Patients who received MAR showed a significant decrease in activity and anxiety levels from transport to surgery (P<.05) as reported by medical staff. Findings from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC) also showed a significant decrease in levels of anxiety. In similar research, Chetta (1981) studied children scheduled for elective surgery. Patients in the experimental groups listened to songs reviewing preoperative information immediately after receiving instructions the evening prior to surgery. In addition, with the presence of a music therapist, patients in experimental group two listened to music just before induction of preoperative medications on the day of surgery. Patients in experimental group two were observed as less anxious than were the patients in either of the other groups (P<.01). Patients who had not received music listening the day of surgery showed no decrease in anxiety. Researchers concluded that the use of music therapy immediately prior to surgery appeared to be more beneficial in reducing anxiety then receiving therapy the evening before. Also, the presence of a music therapist seemed important in emotionally preparing children for induction of preoperative medications.

In her 1991 study, Cowan concluded that the presence of the music therapist was the driving force in comforting and providing the patient with controls. Cowan conducted three case studies on patients scheduled for surgery. Music interventions included patientsí choice of music listening, music with guided imagery, breathing exercises and autogenic suggestions. Patients were given a choice of which interventions to use and when to use them. The first subject chose not to listen to music before surgery, used guided imagery in the holding area, received no music intervention in the recovery room and requested music therapy postoperatively. The second subject chose music with guided imagery and relaxation in the holding area, no music intervention in the recovery room and declined music therapy postoperatively. The third subject chose music with guided imagery and relaxation in the holding area, requested music therapy to continue during surgery and used music listening in the recovery room as a distraction. Cowan concluded that all three patients showed a reduction in anxiety. She believed that by giving patients choices of where, when and how to use music, patients are able to regain some control over their lives, thus helping them decrease their level of anxiety.

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Contents: The effect of music interventions in the surgical setting on patients' level of anxiety

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This page was last updated December 30, 2004
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