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May 21st, 2009
Music and Medicine
Flute Therapy
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Ronit Azoulay, flautist: The flute is to work with her breathing. I’m breathing as I play the flute. I’m noticing her breathing rate and matching it with maybe one or two note phrases, maybe longer. She is on a respirator. One of the things that can be a struggle on a respirator is that it can be uncomfortable. So we’re both looking to influence the rhythms but also the relaxation in the body.

Research has demonstrated that we entrained to sounds outside of us and rhythms. The word entrainment is from physics originally, and in this context it means is that we synchronize with external rhythms in music.

Doctor at Beth Israel: We wanted to study whether or not music therapy would impact on quality of life, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation. The challenge of having chronic lung disease very much has to do with breathing and breathing correctly and training people to breathe as well as possible. When engaged in that effort one can see better oxygen levels, less shortness of breath.

Ronit Azoulay: During the relaxation the heart rate when down back to around 84-85  is what I had noticed when I was playing. And now after the session it’s back at around 90.

Doctor at Beth Israel: We’ve engaged with 20 patients as a pilot study. And the first observations are that [inaudible] rates do go down. Oxygen levels we have to look more closely at. It’s data accruing.  Hopefully it will have some positive outcome.

Ronit Azoulay: Music therapy is a field that is continuing to grow.  The research in the feld is getting more and more sophisticated and understanding how music—does it influence quality of life? Does it influence breathing? Does it influence heart and breathing rhythms as well? So it’s continuing to grow.

  • Sharon Bilius

    I truely believe that it would be safe to assume that if it is relaxing enough to slow the heart rate…the oxygen saturation would improve as well. The relaxation effects of the “therapy’ must prove positive for that as well! I would be very curious to see the effects of that particular measurement during the course of the relaxation atmosphere of music therapy! PLEASE DO keep in touch! Thanks so much for sharing! Sharon Bilius

  • Janie Woods Alexander

    As a current intern in the Music For Healing and Transition Program I am using both harp and flute with patients to decrease anxiety and muscle tension, hopefully raising pain thresholds. Your demo was most helpful to see work with breathing and heart rate, using the monitors present to have objective evidence of the effect of the music. Thank you, this is very helpful to me. Janie Woods Alexander in Atlanta, GA (doing internship at Emory University)

  • Erika Preudhomme

    This I truly believe music is the key for good breathing a relaxing your mine and body. My daughter was on a resperator and was only 1 pound. Next to her she had amusic box that help stimulate her little bran I’m a true believer now hopefully,it can do the same for everyone . Such as Dorthy Hudson a 73 old cancer servivur.

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