January, 2010

In This Issue:
  • Can "Pop Music" be truly healing?
  • Surgical Headphones in use at two major sites
  • Do you want medical research for proof?
  • About Alice Cash

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     Can "Pop Music" be truly healing?

Here it is January 31st of 2010 and I'm watching the "Grammy's" on TV like millions of people around the country.  As I sit here, listening to the likes of Elton John, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce, I find myself wondering if any of this music might actually be healing?  As with other topics, all I can offer is my opinion, but I think some of it, maybe lots of it, can be.  And the reason is, musical taste and a person's previous experience with any music is not only extremely personal but also predictive of what feelings will come up when they hear that music in the future.

For example, if you fell and love with your current partner or spouse while listening to Elton John's "Your Song" over and over each day, chances are, when you and your spouse today are having some conflicts or tough times, listening to that music might actually provide some healing balm for you by reminding you of better times and actually revive memories and feelings that you now find healing.

Almost every time I write I remind people that how you define "healing."  Healing is not synonymous with "curing."  Music cannot cure anything that I know of, but it can provide comfort, soothing memories and feelings, courage, and hope.  For me, this is healing.  For me, healing means an improvement in symptoms and an increase in joy, self-esteem and hope.  I believe music of all kinds can do this.

Another example I see on a regular basis is the older adult who has a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.  This is such a cruel and dehumanizing disease and eventually, the patient doesn't recognize family members, friends, home, or have any sense of time or place.  It is so hard for family members to see their parent or grandparent like this and often they feel hurt and even anger, although they know that the family member cannot help it or do anything about it.  BUT, research and personal experience has shown over and over that these same patients can listen to music from their courting years and sing along, clap their hands, tap their toes and sometimes, get up and dance a few steps!  We're talking POP music from their courting years.  Every generation has its own unique POP music and it can be healing when they're young as well as decades later when their emotions can be not so please or also when they are feeling good and celebrating an anniversary or birthday!

This is such a powerful phenomenon that I've recorded a CD of music for "memory care" and created an e-course for caregivers or family members of Alzheimer's patients.  Just click on these words to learn more! 

So, the answer is YES!  I believe that Pop Music can definitely be healing.  I'll bet you do too!

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     Surgical Headphones now in use at two major sites nationally
You may be wondering if the hospitals in your area are using surgical headphones yet?  It's now more possible than ever before.  These headphones have been on the market for less than a year but already they have been used from California to Massachusetts and Florida to New York City!  As a matter of fact, two very famous hospitals (who must remain nameless for now) are testing the Surgical Serenity Headphones and are very excited about their potential to create a safer surgical experience.  This will happen  by decreasing the amount of anesthesia a patient requires during procedures of all kinds as well as reduce the amount of anxiety medication required before the procedure and the amount of pain medication needed afterwards.

There are two primary ways that you can experience music during surgery right now: I'm offering the wireless, cordless headphones online that are pre-programmed with my scientifically chosen, patented music OR you can purchase just a download of the music for half the price!  Recently, a woman from Australia downloaded the music and had this to say:

I am an emergency room nurse and have looked at music therapy in many forms over the years. I have also worked as an anesthetic technician where my interests in playing music to unconscious patients took a deeper interest.

I purchased your music for a friend who was undergoing a relatively minor procedure but none the less it was a GA (general anesthesia) and she had not had one before.

Her recovery was amazing.
     Absolute minimal pain relief ( 2X 200mg ibuprofen).

Her total recovery emotionally, mentally and physically was smooth short and uncomplicated.

So thank you for putting together such an effective product!

Willow Francis
Fremantle, Australia


Of course if you download the music to your own iPod or MP3 player you don't get the benefit of cordless headphones, but you do get the benefit of the music!  And there are lots more testimonials just like this from the people who are using them with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's patients and to calm children in hospitals, schools, and home!  Eventually I hope to market them to hospitals and surgical centers so that patients will automatically be issued a headset upon admission, but you don't have to wait for that.  Go now to www.surgicalheadphones.com

To learn more about music in surgery, go to www.surgery-with-music.blogspot.com.

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    Do you want medical research for proof of music's healing power?

This is a question that I ask myself and others.  Other people ask me if we really need to do medical research to know whether or not music heals.  This is not just a "yes" or "no" question, of course.  I think we can all say that we know, we have no doubt, that music heals.  We've experienced great joy, great comfort and great cathartic sadness while listening to or even performing our favorite music.  But we still need scientific research if we want the "mainstream" to accept it in hospitals, clinics, operating rooms, and Intensive Care Units!

The nature of "progress" in the medical world is the ability to prove that the benefits of a given technique, procedure, drug, or piece of equipment to do more good than harm...preferably a lot more good!  When I was hired to be the "Coordinator of Music and Medicine" at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Behavioral and Attitudinal Medicine (whew!) the whole idea was to gather empirical data about the healing power of music.  My dear boss, Dr. Joel Elkes, said that we had thousands of years of anecdotal information about music's ability to heal, but that in order to get music into hospitals, we had to know the "how" and "why" and "how much" of prescribing music as a medical intervention.  That was almost 20 years ago and that is what I have been going ever since. 

I have done clinical research on toning and chanting, music with Alzheimer's patients, music with mentally ill patients and with infants.  I'm now in the early stages of doing medical research with my Surgical Serenity Headphones. 

We definitely need to do medical research with music in order to have music healing accepted by the mainstream, but you and I already know that music heals...and, as the Grammy's said it "provides the soundtrack to your life!"  Well said Grammy's!

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     About Alice Cash
For nearly two decades, I've has been helping people use the music that they already love to heal their lives and increase their wellness quotient!  I am one of the world's only clinical musicologists and hold  Bachelors and Masters degrees in piano performance, a Ph.D. in musicology and a Master of Social Work in clinical social work.  I am also a licensed clinical social worker. I work with people and diagnoses of all kinds, enabling them to find healing, acceptance and hope.  To hear me speak, and watch me in action "is to have a day that will amaze, educate, motivate, and inspire you!"  To hire me for your association or organization click here

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