A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

Stress & Anxiety Relief Through Music Therapy

Stress & Anxiety Relief through Music Therapy

00:00:00 – 00:05:28

(Intro)

Music is the reason Bill Protsmanis alive today and his mission is to raise awareness for how to intelligently access and use science of rhythm and sound  for self-care. Music works on us at a preconscious level, our responses to music are physiological before they become cognitive thoughts. Become conscious of your responses to music and you can choose and use music that’s right for you for the right reasons. We all use music for a variety of reasons to relax, set a mood ,even to improve our mood. After listening to Bill you will learn how to take your playlists to a higher self care level. Ever had an angry playlist? You can learn how an angry playlist can release tensions and relieve stress. 

(Sponsor Plug)

This episode is brought to you by Caregiver Chronicles ,an eight-week online course from diagnosis through hospice. For more information use the link in the show notes.

(Jennifer)

 Welcome to fading memories, a supportive podcast for those caring for a loved one with memory loss. My guest today is Bill Protsman;  Bill started piano lessons at three years old he grew up playing and performing and realized very early on that the discipline of playing the piano was also a behavioral healthcare practice. When he began seeking non-traditional audiences, Alzheimer’s patients, and people struggling with physical or emotional injuries, stressed out business people,parents, and caregivers. He began to understand the true power of music as a tool. Bill talked to me for two hours. It was lots of fantastic information that I had to boil down to less than an hour, so this conversation starts a little bit from the middle but you will love every minute of it. And sometimes it gets a little much. Yeah, I have to deal with my mom and this week she was frustrating. 

(Bill)

Well, it’s hard to care for someone anyway, especially if they’re your parents. So you gotta tell me have you played any music for her like the alive inside film?

(Jennifer)

 I did, I didn’t do the film but they inspired me to try again with music. She was, this is hysterical, she was definitely a talk radio kind of gal. She was a housewife. She raised me and my sister. So when she was doing household chores, she would turn the TV on in the bedroom to a talk show and the one on the family room so that she went about her day. She could pretty much keep up with what the shows were talking about, but she also liked  talk radio. I laughed because I listen to podcasts all-time. And I could not think of music that I knew she would connect with and after talking to the guy from alive  inside. I thought okay, let me try again. And so and then I had also talked to another guest who said it took her like a hundred songs to find like twelve that her mom connected with and I was like, oh, that’s the problem. I I haven’t even gotten close to a hundred songs. So I thought about music I remember it as a kid and some of it was like Nat King Cole which I associated with my grandmother. There was- I got a few songs and it seemed to resonate.

(Bill)

 Do you remember any of the talk daytime TV shows she used to listen to? I’m sure you can find a youtube of all of them and put them.

(Jennifer)

I probably could if I thought long and hard. I mean there was like Good Morning America, they’re still around.

(Bill)

 Oh you want the voices like from then right? 

(Jennifer)

I might have to do a Google search. I never thought about old shows.

(Bill)

You’re talking about singers and I’m thinking oh, I wonder if she might resonate with the voice like she heard Tony Bennett singing. He’s been singing for a long time. I wonder if she’d recognize his voice enough to unlock something.

(Jennifer)

 Could be! What I did with- I remember Nat King Cole “Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer”.  I played that one for her and I got up and danced. And so she danced which was really kind of fun. She seems to connect better if I connect with it. It’s like she’s mirroring what I’m doing. She and I can’t carry a tune at all. So it’s not like we’re going to sing along. I was looking at- I just went on iTunes to mood music and thought it was like every time I clicked on a different link. It just opened this other door. It’s like there’s like a zillion songs just for like mood enhancement like well, you know eventually talk about here.

(Bill)

Well anything could be you know mood enhancement and anything at all ,any music at all. Even look up binaural beats some time when you have nothing but time, they’re incredible and their sound and their rhythm. I mean like crickets chirping, a bunch of crickets chirping is a binaural beat. But there’s so many people out there selling healing music CDs.

00:05:28 – 00:10:02

It’s like, oh, come on guys. Really. I mean, I respect that musicians need to make a buck. I’m a musician and I like getting my $0.20 check from Amazon or whatever, you know, every two years. They’ll send me a check for $20, but you know, so I enjoy that but I would rather that people just learn to use all music as a a mood-altering or a physical altering or a mental altering, spiritual altering vehicle because any music can do it for you why you know, why do I need to be the one that tells you to listen to my stuff. The guy next door might have better stuff, you know.

(Jennifer)

My husband likes certain things. He likes the rain sounds and I don’t mind them. I mean I like them but I can’t listen to him for very long because it’s like okay I have listened to water sounds for 30 minute and I gotta pee.It’s not relaxing to have to get up to use the bathroom. 

(Bill)

What about those industrial sounds like the woom woom woom? It’s a really low kind of rumble. 

(Jennifer)

Well what I was listening to cuz a lot of them have rain or ocean, whatever I’m like okay, these are all water so that I found some that were like forrest.  Forest on a foggy day. I’m like, okay fog does not have a sound that I’m aware of, but it does change the sound.

(Bill)

 Like a blacksmith shop kind of sounds where there’s clanging but not obtrusive but just sort of that’s the beat in the back Ting Ting Ting going.

(Jennifer)

That could be interesting.

(Bill)

 It is interesting that yeah, just like go out there and everybody’s done every kind of thing. I can’t imagine something that doesn’t exist right now.

(Jennifer)

 That’s true. I find and I’ve had to apologize to some of my favorite podcasters. I find listening to spoken voice. I pop in my ear buds at night, put my head on the pillow and five minutes I’m asleep. 

(Bill)

You’re just gone. Yeah.

(Jennifer)

 But if I just put my head on the pillow, it’s like my brain just keeps spinning, thinking about what I gotta do tomorrow what you know, Mom and just like it’s like shut up.

(Bill)

 Yeah, the only time the voices in my head stop is when I’m making music. I can – even listening to it won’t stop the voices in my head. When I’m fully present at the piano or something. That’s when that’s when it’s full it’s all me. It’s not the narrator any more. 

(Jennifer)

That’s interesting because I do portraits and I do this and then like I said, I’ve come back from the podcast conference with all these other ideas being a little bit more highly produced. I told my husband before he left. He he’s a real estate broker and he’s working from home right now, which is kind of annoying but I said for I did an interview with the gal before the conference on younger – early-onset Alzheimer’s. Her dad was a set dresser for Grey’s Anatomy. 

(Bill)

Wow!

(Jennifer)

 And his colleagues and co-workers noticed a problem, but he couldn’t have Alzheimer’s; he was too young and good-looking. That was actually what a doctor told him. Yeah, and because he was young and because he was good-looking and you know just he didn’t look like a person that had a problem. It made getting him diagnosed even harder and we don’t really associate Alzheimer’s with younger people. Although there’s a huge segment of the population. Well huge segment of the Alzheimer’s population that is under 65. My mom got it before she was sixty-five. 

(Bill)

We all worry about losing our memory and they’re words that escape me sometimes for a few minutes before I can come up with the word I want but I think that’s normal in some ways.

(Jennifer)

 Yeah, that one’s normal. If you have memory loss that affects daily life. You have to use a lot more reminders, post-it notes, the reminder function on your phone, taking a lot more notes to remember what you said to somebody that’s a problem.

(Bill)

 I’ve kind of always done that just because it’s good business practice. So but that’s that’s something and you know, stuffs out there. You never know when you know what day is like the fires. They bring you back home real quick. Yeah, make a conscious of what matters. 

(Jennifer)

That’s the one thing with my mom. It’s like sometimes I just get so frustrated for her because she’s got plenty of money. She should be traveling and doing stuff with the grandkids, you know, and it’s just when it hits me that it’s like you should not be worrying about all these other residents here and are they okay and what else you need? She gets very like  compliant with them.

00:10:02 – 00:15:04

She’s a very like a helper type person. I’m like, I think you should be doing what you want not this stuff. So that’s when it gets really hard and I try to-  it took me a while to share a lot of photos and videos of my mom because I kind of felt that it was disrespectful  but I have run into so many people that are like, well I’m just going to keep Mom home forever and it’s like good luck with that. That’s not a realistic thing. You keep her home as long as you can  but you need to understand what you’re going to have to do, the help you’re going to have to bring in to do that and it gets to the point where it’s not even it’s not cost effective to keep them at home. So we started talking about music and how it can help your mood and relieve stress and relieve pain. 

(Bill)

The one thing that I always wanted to say, especially when it has to deal with memory. So memory is that higher cognitive functions, it’s the part of your brain, you know, that that lives –  where human beings live, but there’s a part of our brain that responds to music. And this is why I think alive inside is so powerful. The part of our brain that responds to music is really basic. It’s a lizard brain. It’s the amygdala and it’s even more than that it’s the rest of us like our heart, the vagus nerve, the stuff that the autonomic nervous service system, you know, that makes us go and that’s where music really works. So when I’m in a place where I’m dealing with someone whose memory impaired or is brain damaged and Thursday is another example of this , there’s a cognitive function that’s impaired. We can still get at the part of you that responds on a basic level and this is something we share with animals all of us and I think gosh anything with a brain probably has an amygdala. I should do research on that to find out how far it goes. But, you know, even at a cellular level level we respond we vibrate but if you’re if you know, you’re working with the amygdala when you bring in music, then you can create a very interesting sort of conversational connection with someone provided that you’re able to notice how they’re responding to the music and you’re doing this with your mom like trying different songs. So as you notice that when you see one where the lights come on and that could be just a change in the way that her mouth looks or her eyes might widen. I mean subtle things that she really doesn’t have any cognitive control over but you can observe then you’ll know you’ve got a piece of music that’s had an effect. What the effect is anybody’s guess, she won’t be able to tell you. But if it’s something that is frightening obviously you can you can tell somebody is frightened is going to curl up, you know, or they’re going to become alert and and you can tell their heart rate increases stuff like that. Or anger the same kind of thing, sadness is always a good one. If you hit the sad note and tears come you’ll know that she’s had a connection to that just like you’d know if she was frightened or scared. And joy of course is the one that is so great and Alive Inside because all the people that are there are lighting up with joy to the music that they’re listening to that’s all amydagals. It’s all lizard brain stuff and you can go and play in that space without too much fear of having it misinterpreted because the nice thing about Dementia and Alzheimer’s is you don’t have to worry about the cognitive level. You can get right to the feeling  like the emotion level and and play there and it’s a wonderful place to play. It’s frustrating because we don’t have a communication language for that. It’s all based on your own ability to to observe what’s happening with someone listening, but you can try this at home. This is a great game and I know if your husband was going to play this but you can play it, and you can do this either with drums like hand drums. If you have them or you can do it with a piece of music and just sort of play drop the needle and try to use music that you haven’t heard before and you know, the other person has heard before just to see what the two of you will do together when the music hits. Will that be will it have the  same kind of emotional response on you? Will  it be different? How will it be different?  And as you talk about that and suss out how you both responded to this new kind of music a couple of things happening. First of all, your your understanding non-binary communication because there’s no right or wrong to emotions and then secondly that music is bringing you together. And it’s easier to do that with somebody who can think about and express but also works when I’m on stage and I can’t talk to anybody in the audience. It also works. It’s a fantastic game and it works for them to because they’ll feel that connection coming back. 

(Jenifer)

I believe that and one of the challenges that I notice in the memory residence is it can be kind of loud. Not when she’s in her room, although the next her-  they have rooms that are joined by a Jack and Jill bathroom. And her next-door neighbor must have hearing loss too because the TVs are always really loud.

00:15:04 – 00:20:01

I bet you my mom tunes most of it out but there’s always music playing in the common areas. Although I’m not sure they’ve got the right genre because I think it’s big band music and that’s prior to my mom’s  time frame for music-loving. So it’s I’m getting the idea of like taking some of the more nature mood songs. And actually I’m just experimenting around with myself. There was a playlist on iTunes that was a specific sleep mood playlist and it had like hip-hop roots and I’m not a real big hip hop person. So I thought well, okay, what does that sound like becasue I’m like that to me sounds like polar opposites here and you could if you think about it and you are familiar with different genres of music, you could kind of hear the more of an echo of hip-hop. Whenever we’re in nature observing children,which still sounds creepy I notice and it’s very very subtle. I probably maybe it’s in my own head but there just seems to be just a tiny little bit brighter light off in mom and a lot of times when we go back she’ll express very deep appreciation that she had a nice day. Sometimes she actually tells me she loves me and regular listeners know that she thinks I’m her best friend.So telling me she loves me is a little bit weird as a friend.That’s not how our family would roll. I don’t remember her ever telling her friends that she loved them, maybe occasionally but not in general. So I’m thinking because we’re close to two- not Community Parks, there is a ton of community Parks. But the regional parks that I can take her and just she likes to look at the sky and the trees and maybe if I play the more the nature sound music might be interesting to see how she responds. 

(Bill)

 It’s you know, it’s just an experiment and there’s no wrong when it comes to music. I know I’ve said this before but the emotions we get are not binary. We can experience so many of them at the same time. And as long as we remove the judgment from them and say, oh it’s just fear. It’s just anger. Let’s let that feeling come up and let it flow and then see what happens. That’s a wonderful way to approach acceptance  when nothing else exists. I mean with Alzheimer’s right now, we kind of have to accept that it’s happening and we have to accept the people who  are dealing with it and then try to find ways to relate to them and to let them know they’re not all alone in this. You know, the crazy, noisy, sometimes non-caring world that we all live in it’s  great to be able to be that facilitator. I know it’s also demanding and crazy and  you know, sometimes you don’t sleep for a week. But you also have this great experience that many of the other of us don’t have of being able to be with a loved one as they are in this very interesting process of like now discovering new parts of themselves that only they will ever know. May be the biggest gift that those of us who don’t have to deal with the memory issue can offer those who do I know that works from the piano. I mean playing for people in a room like playing at the symphony, there’s gonna be people falling asleep and there’s people tapping their feet, people looking at their phones and people who are engaged in the music, there’s all kinds of people and maybe the people who are falling asleep are  getting the best rest they’ve ever had, you know symphonic music has been known to do that.Maybe the people looking at their phone just got an idea that they wouldn’t have had without hearing  Mozart or Beethoven or whatever it is and maybe people are tapping their feet or remembering a time long ago where they danced with their parents or something to a particular tune that the symphony’s playing right now. It’s might be impossible to know but it’s always possible to facilitate and as unsatisfying as that is to sit at the piano playing a quiet piece of music while people are unwrapping crinkly paper candy. You know, it goes beyond that. 

(Jennifer)

When my dad was in hospice I would leave my house, pick up his mom and drive to their house and from my house to my grandmother’s I never -the whole time he was in hospice I stopped listening to music in my car. Because I did not want the feelings associated with his eventual demise and dealing with her and just all of the twisted emotions that were going on. I did not want them reflected back in any of my favorite music.

(Bill)

 I get that.

(Jennifer)

 When he he died on a Thursday night. And I remember for three days. I didn’t make a decision.

00:20:01 – 00:25:02

I just told my husband I am hungry, go make me food and he’d say well  what do you want. I said go find something. I’m not making any more decisions. But I remember standing in the closet looking at clothes and he’s like, you know what he could tell that that was different and he said well, what’s the problem and I said, I don’t want to pick out an outfit that I really like that’s going to then be associated with these negative emotions. Yeah, and it’s I still listen to music but I have changed kind of what I listen to from then because I don’t need the triggers because I still got to deal with my mom. That’s one of the things that’s been really hard with her is processing his death while dealing with the emotions of her situation is just I mean, that’s a constant grief. 

(Bill)

Yeah, there’s no there’s no respite. Let’s talk about music and caregiving because that’s somewhere I can go a little bit. But what you’re talking about is so important for us as human beings and that’s how do we deal with the negative emotions? And and I respect what you’re saying about not wanting to associate stuff that was good with anything that’s currently bad and and there’s a way through that. So like you I’ve felt music very deeply all my life and I have at least a handful of songs probably more than that, but I can think of several right now just off the top of my head that have been there for me at times where they not only offered me a lifeline but years later then also bothered me immensely. Same song just the place I was at in life, it can be really annoying. And in many cases, it can be mentally frustrating to have that music in your face triggering things that you didn’t want triggered. So I’ve developed a practice for that because I’ve discovered that it’s been something that’s been typical of me all my life. I bring great big emotions to the piano. I’m able to get the deep emotion out of the music that I want and it’s affected the performance and that’s great except that deep emotional part, you know, every you have to go deeper and deeper and deeper and I went all the way to suicide on those deep emotions. That the really depressing, sad ones and I still am basically a depressed person, but I’ve learned a lot of practice to let that depression come up and be fully experienced and let it go and safety with no side effects by coming to music in a way that is all presence. We were talking about how the voices in my head or quiet when I’m playing the piano. There’s a time when I didn’t have the piano and that evening. All I could do was get off my flat screen and play this piece of music that I had to listen to and I just had to hear it and it saved my life it literally the process of letting those emotions come up and be fully fully expressed without a need to act on them was cathartic for me and I’ve noticed since then so many ways looking back in my life that’s been an important part of myself care of my behavioral self care and emotional self care. I was doing a therapy session. I was in trauma therapy and my therapist was giving me MDR which is wonderful. So I move to sensitization and reprocessing the eyes, moving left and right or you tap on shoulders or whatever. I was listening to music and that was moving from my left or to my right ear and back and forth and this creates a bilateral stimulation across what’s it called corpus callosum. Between the left and right hemispheres of the brain turns out when that’s happening you can release negative emotion.. I’m like, I just I’m listening and my therapist is watching me through this process and all of a sudden. I stopped when my jaw hit the floor or because guess what I’ve been doing at the piano all my life, bilateral stimulation left and right left and right left and right. And that when you bring big emotion to left and right bilateral stem the negative of charge on the emotion disappears and leaves you with the power that is in the emotion, but without the negative charge. And my jaw dropped and I said, do you know what I’ve been doing here? I told my therapist all my life at the piano and her jaw dropped.No, we call it EMDR but musicians who do this are experiencing such a sense of relief from our intention to plumb the depths of these deep emotions. What are anger, fear, sadness, even joy can go that deep to make the performance work that’s hard work. And if you don’t have a way of finding yourself those emotions can overwhelm you. So what I’m suggesting is that music as a tool for allowing those overwhelming emotions to come up as your way forward instead of the block. One more story on this and and and then we can talk a bit more but it’s just hitting me.

00:25:02 – 00:30:03

So strongly right now is I’ve seen my dad cry twice in my life. And one of those times is at a concert I was giving and I happen to have this medley of love songs from the 40s and 50s from musicals. And one of those was Till There was You, I think it’s from The Music Man and I remember as a child that my parents would sing the descent. It’s one of those two part things where the guy saying something and the woman saying something and they all blend together perfectly and I remember riding in the car as an infant and then singing the song Till There Was You and other songs from Music Man as well. So I was playing this song as part of this medley and I finished and I bowed and I looked over and my dad was in tears and I had no idea that first of all, he was capable of feeling that deeply and secondly, that would be over something so innocent. You know something about that song just grabbed him that night. And it’s going to stay with me, you know for the rest of my life because it was such an important thing for me to see my father to have that kind of depth in his emotions. 

(Jennifer)

That’s beautiful. I can visualize it because that’s how I that’s how I roll. I’ve  just started my journey on the audio end of the creative spectrum, but going back to – so you let the song bring up emotions. Maybe you’re just feeling frustrated and you want to strangle your your parent or your spouse because you know, like my mom was snapping at me and treating me like I was a naughty kid which you know, it’s that’s a difficult dynamic to start with with role reversal when you’re the caregiver for your parent. I’m thinking, okay. So I let the-  I get in the car, I play something that brings up that emotion and now I’ve let it out. Now how do I let it go? 

(Bill)

Oh, well, this is the key question, isn’t it? Yes, so you know when you cry sometimes you just can’t stop but eventually you have to because you’re just all cried out. That’s how you know. You don’t stop until it’s over. Our brains, whatever our systems remember music and we can use that we can leverage that. Especially when we’re dealing with the emotions that we don’t necessarily want. We can leverage that with a  playlist to take us through the whole ride which happens like that. You don’t have to hear the whole thing, it’ll be enough that your body recognizes it.

(Jennifer)

 So you’re talking about your silver bullet playlist.  So if you were like with me, okay we got four songs. It’s about fifteen minutes from moms to home. So what type of songs should I look for and I know this is more like a persona question,  it’s kind of like saying what kind of shoes should I buy? What kind of songs would I look for to help kind of just help me release the frustration? 

(Bil)

So that’s the music that’s most powerful for you. The Jennifer power music is different than the Bill power music. So what you do is out of the I don’t know your top 40 songs or something pick four of them that are  most closely related to frustrating for you. Whatever those might be, you know a lot of people don’t have songs for emotions that we think are quote negative, but I’ve been thinking about it for a little bit you can find some songs that are frustrating. You know, songs that are that make it difficult for you to listen to, they make your skin crawl a little bit. They get you a slightly uncomfortable. So when you found four of them, the first one in the list is one that introduces that feeling ,now you’re if you’re going to the Silver Bullet playlist, you’re already feeling frustrated. So you want a song that invites that frustration that does nothing to block it that just says, okay, we’re going to be frustrated now. The second song on your list is going to take you further into frustration. So maybe that’s I don’t know, maybe that’s something by Metallica whatever. 

(Jennifer)

 You know, I have a song in mind becasue I’ve hated it my entire life. It’s a popular song from early eighties or late seventies,  You’re So Vain. I hate that song. That song irritates the crap out of me, but it’s only the second one. So the climax of the frustrated silver bullet playlist. That’s the most powerful song in the playlist. So that  number 3 song is got to be the one that takes you over the edge, whatever that edge is, it’s frustration, it’s anger, if it’s fear or sadness, whatever. That’s the one that takes you over the edge. So maybe You’re So Vain goes at the top. And then on the way down you want something that gives you sort of a soft landing. So it’s still frustrating. You still want a frustration in there, but you want to be like, oh, okay. I’m frustrated and it’s going to be alright. I’m okay with it. I’ll fix it later. You know, there’s a lot of songs out there that are unrequited love kind of songs and unrequited love does great for frustration.

00:30:03 – 00:35:01

So you’ve got a big selection of things to choose from, from lots of different genres. They’re all out there.With hip hop, it  is great for frustrating music like not gangsta rap, but something that’s got a little bit of a ride to it. Check out Lizzo. Oh, she’s got some amazing stuff out right now. And then you get to the end of that and your fourth song is the one that just you know, that’s when you get home you turn off the engine and you walk into the house. Now if the songs have worked you’ll find yourself at the end of them in the more neutral place.

(Jennifer)

 It sounds very doable. I’m going to give that a try and then I’ll share my little playlist on my social media. 

(Bill)

And oh, yeah, please do I share mine on Spotify. So I’ve got some for just about everything.

(Jennifer)

 Well I’m almost thinking for somebody that’s in the early stages of memory loss might want to do these Silver Bullet playlists because then I would think when you’ve progressed to the state where my mom is where you know, she can’t tell you what her last name is, much less what songs she likes. And I’m not sure there would be a lot of experimentation to do. A silver bullet playlist for her to choose the songs for her now that’d be a lot of  work.

(Bill)

 It’d be tough because it does involve a lot of thinking.

(Jennifer)

 Right. So if you had these playlists in the earliest stages, I would think somebody could play them for you like if my mom gets agitated like she was agitated because I couldn’t understand her on Monday. And you could be like, okay, we’re getting into the agitated part of the day and then you can whip out the playlist and it is better to put headphones on people with memory loss because it helps block out all the extraneous noise, you know. I would think you could be like, okay mom’s agitated or she seems really sad, so maybe we can have like the uplifting playlist. So there’s definitely a benefit. 

(Bill)

 You’ve inspired me because I hadn’t thought of it as a tool where if you put all your silver bullet playlists together for your normal, you know, twelve moods or whatever that are important to you and had them somehow on a chart and could still communicate with your family. Like somehow which music you want I mean maybe it’s a visual thing ,do Alzheimer’s patients still recognize facial effects, like happy or sad? So maybe pointing to the happy, pointing to the sad and then hearing that music would help process whatever that moment feels like for an Alzheimer’s patient. That I think is brilliant. I would love to see that and play ,that’s a good idea. 

(Jennifer)

Well, there we go. Now we have another thing we could do. So let me ask a question becasue you were talking about facial expressions and I watched this video this morning. A little quick video when somebody living with Alzheimer can’t communicate we have to learn to interpret facial expressions and in this video there was a gentleman who was in very early stages just recently diagnosed. He was saying, you know, when I get to this point, he had play acted a routine where the staff thought he was frustrated, but he’s actually in pain. So how can music help alleviate pain? Because we do have a lot of  people with chronic pain and we obviously have a huge problem with, you know, opioid addictions that stems from pain, you know. Were doctors think they’re helping and now they’ve caused another problem. 

(Bill)

The whole medication thing is just a nightmare. I don’t understand how one doctor working on your left ear can medicate you for something and then doctors work in your right shoulder doesn’t see that medication that the ear guy gave you is going to interfere with what he’s given you and I don’t understand how to make that work. But the whole thing about pain, so the studies on music and pain indicate that people are listening to music need half the pain medication as people who don’t. And that’s a lot.

(Jennifer)

 Yeah, that’s a difference in a lot of well when you think of somebody that’s maybe you could take Ibuprofen instead of an opioid. Not sure an ibuprofen is half of an opioid. But even if you take a non-addictive – I’m much more holistic. I broke my collarbone three years ago by flying off my bicycle and I build up tolerances to medications really quick. So I knew that it was like, you know, the neighbor who has had every kind of issue. She was like you’re going to take both pills every four hours. Don’t let the pain get ahead of you, well that didn’t last long because the medication made me nauseous. Like I think the third dose, third or fourth dose was over-the-top. So I cut back but anybody that’s taken.

00:35:02 – 00:40:10

oh, it wasn’t an opioid but it was- when the pharmacist gives you the stool softener to go with the painkiller you know you’re going to have a problem.Yeah, well after having to take extra stool softener and I really sorry about this visual guys. I was like I’m done with these because that problem is worse than the pain in my collarbone. And I never thought about using music as a way of relieving that  pain. It was also frustrating becasue I couldn’t get dressed,  thankfully it was in the summer so I can wear workout pants that had elastic cuz only one arm worked and try pulling your pants up with one arm.You get a very humble understanding of people with permanent disabilities.

(Bill)

 Well, there’s something even better than deafening the pain and we’re talking by the way of not about so much chronic pain all the time, although It works great there too. But we’re talking about acute pain, there’s a study that was done in the hospital in the ICU. And one of the things that’s important about the ICU is healing. So music also increased the rate of healing that could watch the levels of the pituitary growth hormone, the healing hormone rise in the patience with music. But I don’t know about your ICU. I’ve been in a bunch of them not as a patient, but as a visitor and there’s no music in the ICU’s I’ve been in and why because we have this study. Why would you not have some music playing in there? 

(Jennifer)

Yeah, you know kind of ties into the research I did earlier, they were talking about playlists for different moods. So like your morning playlist to kind of get you going and you have your chores playlist which for most of us would last most of the day, you know, there’s playlists for focus and calming and sleeping. I read a lot of different things online and they talked about basically having different playlists for different times of your day. So it’s kind of similar to what you’re talking about these indigenous people. Yeah, they’re creating it as they go along and I’m sure in the morning. It’s probably more chipper, upbeat, and kind of more energetic and as the day goes on I’m sure it changes. I’m really like gotta go find a Nat Geo movie or something to watch on it.

(Bill)

 I’ve got a better one. I was- my curiosity got picked on this. Do you know who Bela Fleck is?

(Jennifer)

 The name sounds kind of familiar. 

(Bill)

Yeah. It’s like the name, you know, he’s a banjo player and he’s like a virtuoso banjo player. He’s if you know, the banjo was invented for this guy to play. He’s the you who menu and whatever of the banjo so he decided, he’s American, he decided that he would go to Africa because that’s where the banjo came from originally. And that he wanted to play banjo music with people in Africa who are also playing native instruments. And so he was off on this research project in a documentary and all of that but this documentary you find out how it changes him to learn how present music is for people in indigenous cultures. So he’s you know, he goes on stage and music is present there. But this is like throughout life so you can see the change happen in Bela Fleck from the start of the documentary to the the end where the culture of all day music just works on him and softens him and he becomes this amazing human being at the end of the movie where he was amazed at the beginning but all of a sudden he’s become like part of the whole thing. And all of the differences, even between the instruments disappear and you hear him making music on his banjo that sounds so much different than where he started. You know in the course of whatever like an hour documentary.

(Jennifer)

 I will definitely check that out because that sounds really interesting. Because I know as a creative person I get like- it’s almost a physical feeling when an idea happens or a client is in front of me. And I do a lot of high school seniors graduation portraits so they bring me all their stuff and I love it when all of a sudden it’s just like click ,the light bulb goes on and I get the really great idea or what at least I think it’s a great idea for a client or since the podcast conference, which was not geared necessarily towards us little indie podcast people. There were some talks that were very industry focused and it was like, wow, this is like way beyond my pay grade. I’m not even sure this is in the same building as my pay grade, but that’s okay and it’s I would listen because I’m like, well, I’m here. It’s not a whole lot else to do downtown LA three blocks over was skid row, so wasn’t going to go hiking around too much by myself. And all of a sudden it’s just like oh light bulb went on and it’s just off I love that feeling. 

(Bill)

Well, you know how all this research they’re sort of taking a step back now and looking at it from a longer perspective. I think taking a step back from our cerebral cortex and sort of a checking in with the amygdala might be a similar kind of process.

00:40:10 – 00:45:05

You know, we’ve especially guys, you know we’ve been told the stuffing feelings for so long and that’s not serving us anymore. And that’s where it all starts in the amygdala so if we can get a better grasp on how to let that little guy do it it does. And be okay with what with the information it’s giving us, the emotional information that’s giving us without having to go and act out on it. I mean you can be plenty angry and that’s a good thing you know, if you’re leading a bunch of troops to battle. But that same anger can come up from day to day like getting  frustrated with your kids or whatever. Once you can take the edge off of that energy, the energy still remains just without the negative charge and you can use that energy to help guide your kids into doing a better job with their chores or you know, whatever the thing is that that anger got triggered in you. There’s nothing wrong with anger, what’s wrong is what we do with it, and we’ve been stuffing it and we’ve been breaking things and hurting people and in between those two extremes, there’s a much healthier place to be if we need to stand back a little bit. Let the amydygala  tell us what’s going on without judgement and then work with that energy instead of it being an enemy , being a friend. I think we’ve got something, music lets us do that. It’s you know safe. It’s no side effects. It doesn’t suppress anything and you can very safely be angry. 

(Jennifer)

Yeah, you know I used to have a- Well, not angry playlist, but I’d have like certain songs and bands I’d go to when I was just like ahhhh.Because it kind of helped at least some of that you know, I always call exactly grieving head musical. Listen to something that’s less screamo and maybe more you know, I’m an 80s kid. So more heavy metal. Maybe kind of segway into something , see  I think I’ve had a silver bullet playlist in the past. 

(Bill)

 I love my job cuz I just remind people of what they already know .Did you see the Parkinson’s study?

(Jennifer)

 No. My neighbor has it so I’m familiar with a lot of like he used to do or he might still do boxing cuz there’s a lot of things with boxing that’s supposed to help people with Parkinson’s.

(Bill)

 So  this is ages ago now, I think it was in the eighties. A doctor in LA was working with Parkinson’s patients on walking.  So if you have to use a walker. It’s pretty hard and there’s a rhythm to it that’s very difficult to get into the flow. So he decided to put on some music and I kid you not the music he is with Staying Alive by the Bee Gees. 

(Jennifer)

Yep. Yep. I can see that one. I know I mean he’s walking to it in the movie, right?

(Bill)

 Exactly and without difficulty. I still remember this quote in the LA Times, without difficulty the doctor said the parkinson’s  patients began to walk and the best part was they asked him why and he said we don’t know.

(Jennifer)

 Now I’m going to try some might try some Staying Alive with Mom next week. 

(Bill)

So it works by entrainment of course because all that happens is without thinking about it the amygdala connects your feet to the beat. 

(Jennifer)

 As part of the research I did prior to us talking was if you want to be like calm find music that’s about 60 beats per minute because your heart will sync up with the beads. And I thought that was really interesting. And obviously if you want to sleep you need something much slower than 60 beats a minute.

(Bill)

 Yeah, good ambient music or toning or something like that. So all of the science on this and the frequencies and that you can get you know, it’s a deep rabbit hole and people will tell you that, you know, you need to sink into the frequency of the earth. And so okay, that’s great. Maybe they’re right but here’s the really cool thing inside you there’s a little device that knows what you need and all you have to do. If you don’t know it yet is try out a few different kinds of sounds and rhythms whatever until it sinks up with that little thing inside of you that says yes. And that’s what it is. One thing that I can say that is so important though about caregiving is that it’s a thankless job and if there’s anything that we can do for caregivers, it’s to show appreciation.

(Jennifer)

 We have a fantastic evening and I will make sure that all of your websites and all your social media accounts will all be in the show notes. So you guys can find all of Bill’s fantastic research and online courses and everything Bills doing just by clicking through all the notes. 

(Bill)

Thank you so much. I love to hear from people. So feel free to reach out whatever if you’re listening, there’s lots of ways to reach me, but just drop me a line and say you’re out there. I appreciate you.

(Jennifer)

 Well, thank you. And you have a fantastic evening. 

(Bill)

Thank you, bye-bye.

(Outro)

(Jennifer)

 I hope that was beneficial to everybody.

00:45:05 – 00:45:54

I’m reminded of the show, Dead to Me, where the main character uses some seriously loud screamo music to release tension and that’s kind of the thing that bill was talking about. So, I hope that you can take what he suggested and put it into practice and help yourself while you’re doing all of these wonderful things that you do for your loved one. I hope that you’ve had a chance to check out our completely revamped website. I have been adding recipes and all kinds of helpful information. I do share that with a lot of it on my social media. So you should be following me there too. And as always I will be in your ears again next Thursday.