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Voice of Life focuses on the healing power of music

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
music therapy, Voice of Life, complementary alternative medicine

A number of studies have reported the health benefits of soothing music. The Voice of Life is an organization whose mission is to promote wellness through music. On December 11, their new album will be released on iTunes. I received an advance copy of the album and found it to be soothing and relaxing. The Voice of Life foundation notes that music and sound have been used in traditional cultures for ritual and to evoke deep spiritual states since the beginning of recorded history. The foundation claims that it is committed to music being commonly used along with participation to elevate wellness. They note that the tracks on the album are designed to maximize that potential.

Voice of Life officials are extremely proud of their flagship album. They explain that it draws from both Western and Eastern traditions; using both ancient wisdom and modern science, a formula for participating with music has taken shape for the album. The album is designed to invite the listener to participate with the music, ultimately experiencing healing and connection. In addition to enhancing general wellness as preventative medicine, preliminary tests have also shown that vocalizing with their music works well as complementary treatment for patients of Western medicine. Some healthcare professionals have noted benefits from the album. For example, Chris Marasco, MD noted, “I found when providing the Voice of Life music to patients, positive feedback included lower blood pressure as well as regulated breathing.”

Voice of Life was founded by the Emmy-nominated musician David Ari Leon, and yogi and healer Peter Wolff, and features a community of artists such as yogi and vocalist Lisbeth Scott (Avatar and The Passion of the Christ); Kirtan singer and performer Dave Stringer; innovative leader in the field of music, voice and wellness Gina Sala; yogini and recording artist Prajna Vieira; and renowned yoga expert/vocalist Susanne Sterling whom says, “The goal of my work is to give people empirical evidence of the power of sound. That’s why I am thrilled to have worked on Voice of Life.”

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Music is provided in many healthcare settings such as physician offices, dental offices, operating rooms, and newborn nurseries.

A new study due for publication in the journal Surgical Endoscopy evaluated the pre- and postoperative course of surgical patients and on the effectiveness of the surgical work performed by both physicians and staff. The researchers conducted a systematic review of the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) tree and the Medline database from 1946 through December 2011. From 85 articles listed with the corresponding search, 28 were relevant and enrolled for the review.

The researchers found that patients exhibit lower anxiety levels before and during surgery when hearing music and a significant reduction in analgesia (pain medicine) and sedation requirements was observed. Music was found to reduce the heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle effort of surgeons while at the same time increasing the accuracy of surgical tasks. Surgeons who played a musical instrument were found to perform surgical tasks faster. Conversely, anesthesiologists report that music is associated with difficulties communicating and offering a stable level of sedation. The authors noted that the most appropriate music in the operating room appeared to the classical type. They concluded that music in the operating room can have beneficial effects on patients by decreasing stress, anxiety, and the demand for analgesic and anesthetic drugs. For the surgical staff, music is considered to be distracting. For the surgeon, music can increase the speed and accuracy of task performance.

A study published last April in the journal Music Medicine reported on the benefits of music for critically ill patients receiving ventilator support. The authors noted that music is an ideal intervention to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation in critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilator support. They note that music listening can be a powerful intervention for patients with limited energy, such as those who are critically ill and receiving ventilator support, and can provide a simple, yet effective means of personal control during a very stressful experience. With guidance and support of a trained music therapist, patients, their family members and nursing staff can better understand and experience how music can be more than just a nicety in the critical care environment. The music therapist can help educate and foster and understanding of the benefits and uses of music during this time, so that music becomes a non-pharmacological necessity in managing the stress and anxiety mechanical ventilation.

Voice of Life
Surgical Endoscopy
Music Medicine