August 2006

Healing Music for Infants, IQ or Improving Hospital Experiences?

  1. What Does the Growing Infant Hear?

  2. Can Mozart's Music Make you Smarter?

  3. Are You Dissatisfied with Your Medical and Hospital Experiences?


What Does the Growing Infant Hear?

Many pregnant women don't realize that the growing baby's ear is beginning to be functional in the fourth month! Yes, according to Dr. Alfred Tomatis, by the beginning of the second trimester, the baby can hear mother's heartbeat, her digestive sounds, and the blood pulsing through her veins. By the beginning of the third semester, the infant can hear much of what Mom hears.

You need to be very careful of your sonic environment and be especially careful to avoid loud, raucous sounds, screaming or violent sounds. Instead, take a few minutes each evening (or morning or afternoon) and sing some familiar lullabies or other soothing songs to you developing child. Research has shown that these same songs will comfort your child for years to come!

Do you know lots of lullabies? Please share them with me and I will publish them and give you credit in my upcoming ebook, "The Power of Lullabies."

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Can Mozart's Music Make you Smarter?

Many of you have probably heard of "The Mozart Effect." The original research, done in California at UC Irvine, showed that Mozart's Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos helped highschool students score higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test than students who listend to other music before the exam or those listened to nothing. This was exciting news and was widely reported in the media. Later, some marketers began suggesting that Mozart's music actually raised your IQ and "made you smarter." Not true.

Neuromusicologists suggest that Mozart's music may help you to organize your thoughts and may be good to listen before or during a task. It's also beautiful, brilliant music. But it won't make you smarter! Sorry.


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Are You Dissatisfied with Your Medical and Hospital Experiences?

If you are, join the community of thousands who feel that going to a hospital just might make them worse!! With each passing day there are frightening stories or patients contracting staph infections, getting the procedure intended for someone else, having equipment left inside of them after surgeon has sewn them up and on and on. It's enough to make you want to get lots more involved with your own health and learn more about how to stay healthy and create new eating and exercising habits! Recently I've written quite a bit about the importance of you, the patient, having your own music during surgery. I continue to get questions, thanks and requests for personal consultations before surgery. It really doesn't matter if you're having out-patient surgery for something like a colonoscopy, a laser treatment or even chemotherapy, or if you're having inpatient major surgery for heart bypass, ruptured disk or hysterectomy.

The facts are clear: patients who are listening to their own favorite, self-selected, slow and steady instrumental music, need less anxiety medication before the procedure, less anesthesia during the procedure, and less pain medication after the procedure. There are hundreds of studies from hospitals and clinics around the world documenting this fact but surprisingly, most hospital operating rooms do not provide music for patient. Many surgeons are now bringing their own favorite music into the OR, but the patient is thought to be "asleep" and unaffected. Not true! Many patients have reported to me that they heard conversations between various staff members, comments from the surgeon and even frightening words such as "doesn't look good," "worse than I thought" or even "oops!" What can you do? If you have some advance notice that you need surgery, get a good Walkman or Discman, choose your favorite music that has a slow, steady tempo and no words or lyrics (a favorite is always the Pachelbel Canon in D) and let your surgeon know that you want to use music during your surgery. Remember, it's not about entertainment, it's about stabilizing body rhythms, keeping the muscles relaxed, and blocking out OR conversations and bleeping machines. The surgeon and anesthesiologist needs to hear these things, but the patient definitely does not! If you want a consultation with me before your procedure, contact me through my web site  or call me at 502-419-1698. Hope to hear from you soon!


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Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW

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