Music Research Results
The Impact of Listening to Positive Intention Music™ on the Resonant Field between Mothers and NICU Infants
Every good research project begins with a powerful and important question. These questions shape the nature of the experiment and give rise to curiosity and excitement about what can be learned. As professionals deeply invested in the discovery of what can support healthy connections between mother and child, we are committed to exploring the impact of music that was psycho-acoustically designed (Positive Intention Music™). Psycho-acoustics employs the intentional use of sound to create a particular impact on the listener. The lyrics, tone and rhythm of the music, performed by vocal artists from different cultures, were designed to connect the mothers to their babies and promote an atmosphere of bonding and appreciation.
There has been positive research on the impact of music on mothers in birth circumstances. However, this was the first time that the question of exploring the principle of resonance. In other words, could the mothers’ emotional state, as facilitated by the Positive Intention Music ™, directly impact the emotional and physiological state of their baby?
Could such music facilitate a calming, stressing reducing effect on the mothers and their children? Our question was twofold:
- Would mothers relax using the intentionally designed music?
- If the mothers relaxed, would that have a positive effect on the physiological state of their babies?
The Research Setting, the Subjects and the Measures
We initiated this study in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY. We were able to get a sample of 25 mothers who had infants in the NICU. The average age of the infant was 32 weeks and the average age of the mother was 32 years old. Half of the infants were male and half were female.
We were able to track the vital signs of both mothers and infants. Infants vital signs were recorded from the NICU based monitors and the NPASS scale. Mothers’ physiology (heart coherence as tracked by heart rate variability) was tracked on a computer software program designed by Heartmath Institute.
We additionally tracked the emotional and physiological states of the mothers with feedback questionnaires that provided qualitative data regarding the mothers’ experience. Mothers were able to hear Positive Intention Music™ for 40 minutes while holding their child. Infants were not able to hear the music.
The results of the study were striking. Parent’s responses were overwhelmingly positive for all measures related to increased calmness, reduced stress and beneficial physiological effects on mother and baby. Infant data revealed significant decreases in heart rate and respiration as well as increases in oxygen saturation. NPASS scores showed reduced pain for infants assessed as having pain. It appears that the music’s positive stress reducing impact on the mothers did lead to a corresponding shift in the state of the babies, reinforcing the principle of resonance between mother and child. The results suggest a whole new body of research on the potential uses of this type of music with a variety of activities including nursing and sleep.
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