The Story


PACIFE stress reduction audio tapes grew from my attempts in NICU, (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to reduce a baby's heart rate from 225 beats a minute. Heart rate can be sped up easily by stimulating a baby, making him wake up or cry, but there is no way to bring it down quickly. Various calming measures are used such as approximating the security of the womb by placing firm hands on the infant’s head and legs and putting them into a fetal position. The inconsolable ones are often in a soundproof room by themselves with dim lights and a nurse at their side every minute.

Attempting to calm him, I began to play a current lullaby tape. His heart-rate went up! The excitement and complexity of the music was too much, creating irritating stimulus and more stress for the infant.

The following day I brought Grover Washington Jr’s “Winelight”. This song also had sections that were too complex, yet there were other parts that quieted the baby almost immediately. I studied the structure and characteristics of those parts and began making tapes with bits of this and that, similar pieces drawn from many kinds of music; jazz, popular, international and classical. With these tapes playing, I learned from the monitors that within minutes, the baby's stress was being reduced.

While making many sample tapes and playing them for hundreds of infants, it became instantly clear from the monitors that certain characteristics of music and composition have the ability to relax the body. Watching as these physical reactions changed the numbers on monitors, I learned exactly what those musical characteristics are, and adding personal experiences with extreme stress, where I automatically begin to count, I created a set of over sixty, all inclusive “rules” covering composing, editing, instrumentation and recording.

Eventually, a demo tape was made and played for NICU babies and the results have been well beyond expectations. Not only did sick stressed babies calm, they frequently smiled.

PACIFE has been played at bedsides in large NICUs since 1998. It's used as part of the nurse's 'Hands On' and signals to the baby that treatments are over and it's time to sleep.

PACIFE was played during a crash Cesarean surgery, a circumstance of ultimate tension. As the music was playing, the surgery, birth and closing, proceeded in a manner that was not only calm, but with ease, co-operation and pleasant conversation... one nurse likened it to a dance. The attending physicians and nursing staff agreed it was unlike any surgical experience they'd ever had. They unanimously attributed it to the music, and doctors have been requesting it for their other surgeries.

PACIFE keeps rowdy pets calm during the day when their owners are gone.

PACIFE has been played in overwhelmed households of young, energetic children with quieting results.

If parents use the PACIFE tape at bedtime, and, with a pacifier, security blanket or favorite stuffed animal play it when it is time for baby to sleep, they can train him to fall asleep when he hears the tape no matter where they are; in a hotel, on a train, or at Grandma's house.