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Farlow Music Therapy Services

Fort Wayne, Indiana



Anxiety contributes to emotional stress and tension, increased pain, nausea and vomiting and can interfere with responses to and recovery from surgery. (Rodgers, 1995). Music is aesthetically appealing and can be justified as use as therapy in the preoperational setting as it is a noninvasive technique that allows patients some degree of control of and participation in their health care. (Cirina, 1994). Research studies support using music in the surgical area and stress that giving patients choices in selection of music is important in helping to decrease their levels of anxiety. While unassisted music listening in the preoperative setting has been shown to alleviate state-anxiety levels as measured by the STAI and has consistently been preferred by patients who have experienced it, music listening by itself has not shown consistent results in reducing physiological responses due to stress. This writer believes that by using music interventions with direct assistance from a music therapist, patientsí would more consistently experience a reduction in physiological responses due to stress. The presence of a music therapist is important in providing visual, physical and auditory bonds with the patient. "Since the music therapist is possibly the only non-threatening, non-invasive caregiver in the surgical suite, his or her presence may help alleviate the ever-present tension that accompanies surgery." (Cowan, p. 44). By talking with patients prior to surgery and allowing them to choose when, where and how music interventions will be used, the music therapist helps patients gain a sense of control and allows them to take on an active role in their treatment. (Robb, Nichols, Rutan, Bishop & Parker, 1995). Therefore, this writer proposes that research be conducted that specifically tests for the effectiveness of music listening in the preoperative setting with and without direct assistance of a music therapist.


This page was last updated December 30, 2004
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