Experimentation on cardiopath children in the Cardiac Surgery Dpt. of John XXIII Child Hospital.

Psycho-somatic music therapy was experimented on cardiopath children in the Cardiac surgery Department of John XXIII Child Hospital. A cardiologist psychologist coordinated the experimental part of the research.
The purpose of our research was to restore, with the help of music-therapy, the natural and physiologic harmony of little patients.
The music adopted came from psycho-pedagogic music therapy experiences on healthy children. Nine children all with a complex congenital cadiopathy, ranged from two days to ten months, have been tested. We examined the positive results of Music Therapy on feeding.
A “non conventional” therapy program has been proposed, making the families and the hospital staff become aware of the existence of different types of treatment.
The results were positive.
The research was origined by the common interests among Cardiac surgery, Psychology -Psychotherapy and Music-therapy towards Child Being.
The novelty of music therapy as a clinical treatment has been the leading vectoriality of this research.
A group of music therapists from the Psychosomatic Music therapy School of Bari, directed by Dr F.Palmirotta, experimented with new harmonic sonorous methods with a psycho-somatic basis, in order to introduce a new interaction between musical art and therapy. A psychosomatic consciousness emerged from these expressive experiences and immediate wellbeing results were obtained. It has been tested that both the producers and the users of this “attempted” music determined psyche-soma harmony, immediately during the music therapy setting and after in their relational environment where they usually interacted; they felt better with themselves and with others, even if they were not completely aware of the transmission channel of this wellbeing. After the phenomenologic acquisition of these positive results within a normal psychosomatic pathologic case history from stress(hemicrania, gastralgia, asthenia, tachycardia, etc.), the idea of enlarging the positive experience to a more complex case history was approved. The choice of the Child Cardiac Surgery department was given because this peculiar complex congenital heart-disease requires prolonged hospital treatment; several surgery operations do not always bring the little patient to a complete healing.
In all these cases the quality of life of these little patients cannot be compared to normal children.Their functional limits relegate them to a total maternal dependence: the traumatic experience of the heart operation (even for the symbolic meaning of this organ), the separation from his/her mother, the treatment in the intensive care ward and the suffering condition determine in the child an inability to elaborate his/her experience in a positive way, the relation with his/her body will become difficult and the same will happen for the recovery of his/her identity. The mother’s anxiety, of separation from her child and the fear of losing it, inevitably affects the child and the medical staff. The primary goals were to improve the child’s feeding, to re-establish psychosomatic harmony, and to observe the effects of music therapy on the child, on the family and on the hospital staff.

Material and Methods.
Nine children with a complex congenital heart disease, ranging from 2 days to 10 months (average 3 months), were treated with music therapy. All the little patients, except for a 2 day old baby with Pulmunary Artreia and pharmacological treatment, were in the post-operating period.
The experiment was carried out in the semi-intensive care unit of the cardiosurgery department at Giovanni XXIII Child Hospital in Bari (Italy).
Since it was impossible to practice live music therapy, due to logistical difficulties in the hospital, we decided to use tape recorded local music for these children (familiar also to the post-operative medical staff). All the music was taped live from a group of healthy children in a state of joy and free body expression during some psychosomatic musictherapy sittings.
It is significant how the natural background, where the music was taped and enjoyed, inspired the psychosomatic harmony of the present. This harmony could be observed in the little patients while they were listening: we often noticed that, while listening to the taped voices of the healthy children, their reactions included waking up and communicating (smiling, looking at the tape recorder, moving their body).
The experiment lasted three months, with the music therapy sessions taking place twice a week (about 45 minutes each). The parameters considered were: heart rate, respiratory rate, muscle tone,psycho-physic relaxation/irritability, physiognomy of relation, induction of the physiologic sleep,reaction with the beginning of music therapy, feeding and positive/negative interference of the mothers or hospital staff.


A significant reduction of the respiratory rate (Fig.1)

coincided with the beginning of the music therapy sittings. This also happened to a child who had a septic complication, which usually causes polypnea.
Since the first psychosomatic music therapy sitting there was an immediate relaxation in the little patients and also a reduction of irritability in all the babies who were tested (Tab.I),

some of them fell asleep. Furthermore the relation between the babies and their parents improved. The families and all the hospital staff took part in the sittings and became aware of the efficiency of this “non conventional” treatment.
The purpose of this research was to improve feeding with a psychologic and organic gain of the little patients. Feeding brings two important clinical consequences: the first is connected to cardiopathy and to the operations that the babies underwent during their first year of life; the second regards the psychopathologic relationship between mother and child: these mothers were anxious for their child’s health and consequently transmitted this tension to the babies, who more and more continued to refuse food. Breaking this negative spiral reduced the nutrition problem and made the mothers become more calm and available to talk about their difficulties and made them consider their child’s illness in a positive way .
All those babies, who were fed by gavage, progressively began to use the feeding bottle. They drank more milk than the usual standard during the Psychosomatic Music therapy sittings.

The medical staff noticed a reduction of the period of convalescence of these nine babies compared to others, with similar pathologies and surgery treatment, but who did not practice Psychosomatic Music therapy. It is important how the Psychosomatic Music therapy determined positive consequences both on an organic and on a psychological level, in an age where psychotherapy and psychoanalysis cannot be used, since these little patients are not able to comunicate yet.
Re-establishing the psychosomatic consciousness value through Psychosomatic Music therapy, you can re-establish the authenic biologic message of the organismic-cell and obtain a state of real wellbeing of the individual and collective human being.
This is the natural condition to become creative in one’s own existential-ontic bios.

An immediate relaxation, since the first psychosomatic music therapy sittings, was determined in those patients who, according to the hospital staff, were more sensitive and ill.
Some mothers said that their babies fell asleep during the music therapy sittings and woke up soon after. Nicola, a 4 month old baby, operated for TGV, presented after the operation a paresis of the right diaphram and pulmonary atelectasis. For this reason he was treated with respiration physiotherapy, but he usually cried and became anxious and only during the music therapy sittings did he let himself be touched without any problem by the physiotherapist.
Other children played and communicated with the music therapy equipment, or at least showed their attention to the external world, after a negative period determined by the operations. Music therapy represented the only positive sonorous experience compared to the alarm systems and the monitor bips that always run in the intensive care department; these machines reassure the medical staff and the families but disturb the little patients.

It often happened that our music therapy work was not positively accepted by the hospital staff department: our speaking with the families while the staff took care of the patients slowed down their treament; we noticed that they often carried out their work following the usual standards, while, on the contrary, the music therapy approach is creative and requires a sensible and conscient adaptability to what is happening in the interaction and what rotates around the patient must not be ignored. This novelty often created problems since it did not produce the usual working rhythms.
A better mother/child relation was determined; these mothers who were worried and anxious transmitted their tension, but during the last music therapy meetings they were more calm and free to talk about their problems, relieved their tension and obtained trust.These effects occured systematically during every Psychosomatic Music therapy sitting, that was carried out in the hospital department and the effect reverberated during the whole time from one sitting to another (about a week).
The method of the Psychosomatic Music therapy school of the Maieutic Ontic-Existential Association is based on the ancient Magna Grecia and Pythagorean1 philosophy. From that philosophy, which arrived to us without original writings, were born the words Therapy, Science, Cosmos, Soul-Harmony. Music is an instrument that helps to reconstruct the Soul-Harmony, ones own Real Ontic Being. Hans Kayser2 was the researcher who got closer to the pythagorean knowledge about Soul-Harmony and the meaning of human being therapy. This author, even if he applied the system of the harmonic relations in many different fields, has not been able to apply his theories to cure or stimulate the human Being’s intelligence. With this experimentation we have been able to re-order the meaning between theory and practice, and between art and therapy.