Live from the Operating Room: Dr. Jorge G. Camara, the Piano-Playing Eye Surgeon

By James Inverne on Jul 22, 2013 02:22 PM EDT

Here's a rather lovely story from the Steinway Chronicle (via Steinway pianist Lara Downes)...

One Doctor Jorge G. Camara, an eye doctor in Honolulu, decided to bring a piano into the operating room. He’s a keen pianist and thought that his patients could benefit from his passion.

In fact, researchers measured the patients’ responses to his music. According to Steinway, Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1, Chopin’s Étude No. 3 in E Major and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata had a definite physiological effect. Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate decreased in 115 patients.

And now, the disc Live from the Operating Room is, Dr. Camara says, a CD especially tailored to decrease stress.

He may well be right (as far as this layman can see), given the work done by other institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic.

Several years ago the Cleveland Clinic joined forces with the Cleveland Orchestra to analyze the effect of music on the minds of musicians, and the more general health effect of music on those who live their lives in its midst. And it was indeed the autonomic functions (the ones you can’t control, like sweating and heart rate) that showed signs of alteration.

Camara, most probably, doesn’t hit wrong notes, which should help with the “relaxing” part--he practices for two hours every day.

Dr. Jorge Camara doesn’t only help people through music; he also runs the Aloha Medical Mission, which distributes free health care throughout Southeast Asia and Hawaii.

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TagsJames Inverne, Live from the Operating Room, Dr. Jorge Camara, Steinway, Lara Downes, Debussy, Chopin, Beethoven, Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Clinic

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