Music Therapy: The Soothing Sounds of Your Favorite Songs

Music therapy after weight loss surgery for lap band, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomyThe next time you’re feeling anxious or depressed after Lap Band, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy surgery, try throwing on one of your favorite songs. Pick something soothing or something that reminds you of tranquility or more relaxing times and places. Music has a profound ability to affect us psychologically and can be a useful tool for more than just entertainment. Used correctly, music can be highly therapeutic, providing relief for patients in a variety of medical situations.

If you’ve tried to lose weight, then you know how difficult the process can be. The ups and downs of your scale and emotions can make losing weight a hard journey to face alone, which is why many people turn to weight loss surgery to develop a healthier lifestyle. But surgery is only part of the battle—the most important element of success is learning how to keep weight off and deal with the psychological and emotional stresses that drive us to return to unhealthy habits.

Your weight loss surgeon may suggest many ways to accomplish this feat, from support groups to nutritional counseling, but one method of support often overlooked by weight loss patients (and others) is music therapy. Though the practice has been around for decades, it has been slowly gaining steam as a unique way to treat patients with both mental and physical disabilities. Music therapists can now be found in just about any medical setting, including general hospitals, schools, nursing homes, correctional facilities, psychiatric centers and more.

What is Music Therapy?

Music is a powerful form of sensory stimulation, with a unique capability to provoke responses because of the feelings of predictability, security and familiarity that patients associate with it. Music therapists use instrumental and vocal musical techniques to assist their patients with a variety of goals specific to that individual’s unique needs, be they physical, psychological or social in nature. They design specific musical experiences for each patient that meet objectives related to that patient’s medical diagnosis, other treatments and timeline for discharge.

Why Music Therapy for Weight Loss Surgery?

In a study at Jefferson General Hospital in Port Townsend, WA, researchers observed the effects of music on 25 different patients. Rather than sedate these patients to ease the anxieties created by the operating room sounds they heard before surgery, they tried to calm them with music.

They found that melodious tunes reduced the patients’ blood pressure and heart rates and reduced the amount of sedatives needed to calm them by half. One of the researchers equated the soothing impact of music to 2.5 mg of Valium and said that patients who listened to music generally felt better after their operations and were able to return home sooner.

Music therapists can have a huge effect on many different issues that weight loss surgery patient’s face and may help with:

  • Decreased hospital stay
  • Reduction of stress and anxiety
  • Improved mood and emotional states
  • Pain management by nonpharmacological means
  • Increased patient activity and positivity in treatment

Take some time to consider the role that music therapy could play in your treatment and recovery. Music therapists are not just musicians with a passion for helping people—they are trained, licensed, credentialed professionals who study for years to develop the unique skillset necessary to provide care by musical means. If a musical therapist is not available to you, your personal music collection can serve as a helpful therapeutic force in tackling anything you face.