I found a somewhat obscure study that was published in Taiwan about the effect of music on women having a Cesarean section. As you have all figured out by now, I’m a music lover, but I’m also intrigued by the concept of music therapy.
Isn’t it amazing that music gives us pleasure but can heal our bodies too? Music can awaken us from a coma. Music can light the spark of the human spirit in deeply ill patients (see Oliver Sacks’ book, and the motion picture, Awakenings). It can help us cope with the pain of childbirth. And even when we’re rushed into the OR for a C-Section, music can make a birth plan turned upside down, feel good too.
Once again, I’ve got some research to prove it. The study is called, Effects of music therapy on women's physiologic measures, anxiety, and satisfaction during cesarean delivery (Research in Nursing & Health, P. 453 – 461 Nov 2005).
Now the scientists in the room are going to object. They would say: It’s a small study. It was published online rather than in a scholarly journal. It was based in Taiwan rather than the United States or Europe.
And I would say: But so few people in the west are studying women, or childbirth, let alone examining gentle, non-invasive therapies that make women feel comfortable, empowered and happy about childbirth and motherhood.
For those of you that are still reading my blog, here’s what they did. They gathered sixty-four women who were planning to have a Cesarean delivery. The experimental group received routine care and music therapy, whereas the control group received routine care only. The experimental group listened to calming music in their labor rooms and in the Operating Room. Imagine that! These women listened to Chopin or Enya or even the sounds of the ocean while undergoing surgery!
You can probably guess the outcome. The experimental group had significantly lower anxiety and a higher level of satisfaction regarding the cesarean experience.
I say, let’s tell our over-stressed doctors and nurses and healthcare administrators to invest in a little boom box for every Operating Room and Labor Room and Waiting Room. And since they seem to share the cost of everything with consumers, we’ll provide the music. I bet we can gather enough CD’s filled with beautiful, soothing music that every hospital in America can offer music therapy 24/7.
What do you say?
I say, Let the music play!