Some Personal Experiences

Steve Rees Effects of Music Posts Tags: , , , , ,
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Steve Rees Playing the Harp

Instead of including an article as a new post, I thought I would give some of my personal observations and experiences of how music and frequencies have made a measurable difference in many situations. I have been asked by several readers to relate some of these experiences, so indulge me if you can.

In 1998-99 as I began to play the harp, I finally plucked up enough courage to take my (small) harp into the hospital with me and offer to play for patients at their bedside. At the time I was practicing as a Hemodialysis Registered Nurse doing in hospital treatments for patients with either acute or chronic renal failure. Once the machine is set up and the patient is connected, there is a 3-4 hour time slot of mostly sitting and waiting for the treatment to finish. This is where I started playing the harp at the bedside.

I would always ask if it was OK before I started to play and I was never refused. As time went on, the other nurses would come and ask me if I could play in some of the other rooms when I was finished and had the time. One day, the head nurse at the front desk said, “Now it’s our turn. The patients can’t have all the blessings!” Soon I was asked in several hospitals to give classes in “Alternative Therapeutic Methods – Music as a Healer” and these were very well attended. I was even written up in one of the Bay Area Hospital Journals. So much for my claim to fame!

Early on, I can remember one of my favorite patients. She was severely diabetic and had already lost kidney function as a result. As happens many times with this diagnosis, she lost one leg to severe vascular issues and then soon after the other. Her prognosis was very grim and she was not doing well. I was doing most of her dialysis in the ICU and she was in constant pain with maximum medication. She had been shuttled out to a long term care facility for a short while and I visited her there with the harp and played her favorite songs to help cheer her up but I could tell she wasn’t going to make it too long. One evening I was called in to do an emergency dialysis in the ICU and given her name, so I could tell she was getting close to her end. I took my harp in with me and as I got her treatment started, found her to be in incredible pain. They were giving her even more Morphine than usual just trying to keep her comfortable, but she was still crying out almost constantly. I started to play the harp and about 15 minutes into the treatment she began to quiet down and relax. Within another 15 minutes she was sleeping. About half an hour later, her heart monitor sounded off and I looked up to see her go into straight line. She had already asked to not be resuscitated so we honored her request and cleaned up everything and allowed her to pass on peacefully.

Another time, I was just finishing up a treatment and the hospital administrator came to me and asked if I had any free time. She went on to explain that she had just come from the ER and the place was extremely chaotic, noisy and almost out of control. She asked me if I could just come down and play the harp and see what would happen. I finished up and took the harp down there and began to play. At first, I got a couple of weird glances wondering what I was doing there, but soon I sank into the background and started to observe the effects of the music. The noise level began to drop almost immediately. Activity started to slow down – voices quieted. Within 30 minutes total order was restored into that setting. It was amazing to watch! Just a little calming harp music.

One patient I had was severely asthmatic and was having a difficult time keeping adequate oxygen saturations. He was in a crisis period, and if they couldn’t get the saturation up soon, they would have to take some more drastic measure. Usually, if you can get them past the crisis, they can calm down, breathe easier and get past the critical point. As I started to play for him, I noticed that first of all, his breathing rate started to slow. Next, I saw the numbers on his saturation monitor start to slowly inch up. In about half an hour, he was sleeping, and his saturations were in an acceptable range. I was getting fluid off through the dialysis treatment as well, and I’m sure this had some of the effect, but I believe the harp music was just as much a part of his recovery.

Often my wife and I go to Extended Care Facilities and give Scripture stories accompanied with the harp. While doing so in Colorado, we were asked if we could come and do some music in the locked Alzheimer Care unit. As we entered the doors onto the unit I can only describe the scene that met us as chaos and noise. There was screaming, wild singing (off tune), blaring TV and any number of other activities taking place all at once. As I started to play I drew quite a bit of attention. Curiosity was the first response I’m sure, but as they various residents began to listen, they began to quiet down and slow down. The “singer” changed into a dancer and started following the music I was playing and quieted down. Within a short time there was a total transformation in the atmosphere of that unit. I played for over an hour and the nurses were so appreciative. When it came time for us to leave they were so grateful. “Can’t you just stay and play all the time?!” Well, I left them a couple of CD’s and encouraged them to use them often when things started to get out of hand.

Even when I play for a dinner or at a coffee shop I notice that when the music starts, the atmosphere changes. People talk quieter, smile more, move slower – plain relax. I have seen it so many times I know it is not coincidental. These frequencies really do make a restorative difference. There really is healing contained within them as we interact with them. I believe that our Creator intended it to be that way. He knew from the beginning that we would need to be restored – frequently!

I have many people writing me that they are using this music and these frequencies to be able to experience good sleep each night. One person told me that he had not had a full night sleep in he couldn’t remember how long but that since he had started using this music, he was getting full nights of sleep again. He was so thankful. Mothers use it to settle their children down at bedtime and get them off to sleep. I have received so many letters and e-mails testifying to this.

I am also getting a lot of feedback from Cancer treatment people. Many times they have a problem controlling their pain threshold and they are always trying to find ways to beat it. I had given some of my CDs to a man I had briefly met by way of a friend of mine that new him well. I did not get any feed back about how he was doing until over 2 years later. While attending a friends wedding, the wife approached me and filled me in on the details. She let me know he had passed on, but she quickly added that he wanted me to know how much he appreciated the harp CD’s I had sent to him. She said that before they came, he was in almost constant pain, but once he started listening to the CD’s he was able to get much better control over the pain. He was able to get some really good sleep and their quality time together during his last days was so much improved. With tears in her eyes she hugged me tightly and thanked me for sending them the CD’s in their hour of need. You can’t put a price tag on that!

It’s kind of funny/interesting – I have had a couple of people respond to this website and tell me they don’t want to be calmed down?! I’m not sure where they’re coming from. I guess “to each his own”. Truly though, I find very few people who are not benefitted from this music – I think even those few I mentioned would benefit if they would give it a try. Maybe down the road I’ll write another installment of some more of the experiences I have had, but I think I have given you enough for now. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider what I am offering. I hope and pray that your life will be enriched and blessed as a result of it. Shalom – Steve