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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Music therapy


While music cannot substitute medication or treatment, it has a therapeutic effect and can help patients relax Pune-based Nalini Dhananjay Govardhan dreads winters. Her arthritis pain increases during that time, making it difficult for her to even move. Early this year, her sister-in-law, Sangita Avinash Sangikar, suggested that she listen to Marudh raga. After doing so for almost a month, Govardhan felt her pain had eased. “For how long can one take painkillers? The music may not have cured her arthritis, but it definitely brought down the pain because of the effect it had on her mind,” says Sangikar.Nature has given us tremendous inherent power to recover from an injury or disease, says Shashank Katti, who is a national AIR (All India Radio) artiste, sitar player as well as an electrical engineer. “Music therapy (using music and all of its facets to improve physical and mental health) helps stimulate this power by releasing various neurohormones, and has a meditative effect,” he says. The Marudh raga CD is his brainchild.His Mumbai-based Sur Sanjeevan Music Therapy Trust teaches music therapy as well as helps people suffering from diabetes, anxiety, stress, depression and other lifestyle diseases. “I have modified some of the ragas based on the energy levels they impart, using science and math—and turned them into CDs. Each CD is designed for a particular condition,” he says. Paranshaya, for instance, helps asthma patients, while Madhuparna raga helps diabetics, says Katti. “I use Indian classical music because I’m well-versed with it.”As part of the therapy, patients are asked to listen to a CD of a modified raga meant for that disease or condition for 22 minutes (Katti believes that’s the maximum limit for holding someone’s concentration) for 28 days (the number of days it takes for the secretion of neurohormones to set in the body). “We believe after 28 days the meditative effects of the music will help improve the patient’s condition. If not, then s/he can continue with the therapy.”

Besides music therapy, one has to take care of their diet and physical activity levels and take medication on time, since most of these problems are related to poor lifestyle, says Sangikar, who learnt music therapy from Katti a year ago.Music therapy is a little different from listening to music in your drawing room, sitting in an armchair. “In music therapy, the sounds are regulated based on the kind of activity that is expected out of a patient. You can’t expect a patient to stay calm while listening to fast-paced music, and you can’t expect them to move on Beethoven’s Symphony No.4,” says Aditi Kaul, a psychologist and head of the creative art-based therapy programme that runs across four Fortis hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR)—Vasant Kunj, Shalimar Bagh, Gurgaon and Noida.Although Katti says 80% of his patients have reported improvement in their condition from music, there is only anecdotal evidence to corroborate his claims.

Samir Parikh, director of mental health and behavioural sciences at Fortis Healthcare hospitals in the NCR, refuses to comment on Katti’s work owing to lack of proof, but doesn’t deny “the healing power of music. Music works simply because it is a pleasurable meditative experience; it is a positive distraction”. Having said that, one must understand that it is an add-on, not the core, therapy; it cannot substitute medication and other treatment, says Dr Parikh, who spearheads the hospital’s creative art-based therapy programme open to all.“We keep holding these sessions for our patients. Of course, we first ask them whether they would be interested. People from outside can also join (Rs.700 for a 30-minute session, and Rs.1,100 for 1 hour),” says Kaul, who decides how many sessions a person needs based on their complaint and feedback after the completion of the first one. “People with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), for instance, need to take sessions for more than a month,” she says.

Besides music, the sessions also offer writing, storytelling, painting and drawing. “People can choose as per their interest; there are no set boundaries,” says Dr Parikh.
Pop or classic?
According to a study published in the Deutsches Ärzteblatt International journal two weeks ago, listening to soothing classical music of Mozart and Strauss is more effective in lowering blood pressure and heart rate than the pop music of Abba.“Soothing music has long been known to reduce stress levels, which in turn helps bring down blood pressure, even diabetes levels,” says Sameer Malhotra, director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Max Healthcare in Saket, New Delhi.Does this imply that classical music is more effective when it comes to music therapy?Not really, clarifies Dr Parikh. “It’s true that there’s more evidence to show that classical tunes like that of Mozart and Beethoven are more effective owing to their calming effect, but it really depends on the person’s choice, his/her clinical condition, his preference and personality. Unfortunately, there is no such research on Indian classical music, but people respond more to it because of the cultural connection,” says Kaul. She uses a mix of Mozart, Bach, classical music, even Taylor Swift sometimes, depending on the patient’s taste.Dr Malhotra, however, prefers only classical and instrumental music. “I use sitar notes to help uplift the mood, while flute helps patients relax,” he says. “Although there have been studies that show hard rock/metal music can make one calm, I don’t prefer it because of the high decibel levels.”

On a high note.The therapeutic value of music is well known: Chants were used in the healing process in ancient Egypt, while Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato believed that music could help people overcome emotional difficulties.Modern research has shown that music can improve the condition of patients receiving palliative care, relieve anxiety and stress, reduce pain in cancer patients and restore lost speech. American politician Gabrielle Giffords, who lost her ability to speak in a 2011 assassination attempt, credited music therapy to her regained speech. “…(Giffords’ recovery) it’s a very powerful and poignant reminder of how the beauty of music has the ability to speak where words fail, in this case literally speak,” said Indian-American violinist Robert Gupta in his 2012 Ted talk, “Between Music And Medicine”.

Music even helps create a sense of social belonging. “When you’re home alone in your house, it feels empty. But when you put on some music, all of a sudden you feel better because you’re not alone....you feel like you have company,” writes Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, a research neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, in a 2015 paper published in the journal Empirical Musicology Review.“Listening to music can stir emotions, it can make people laugh, cry, even introspect,” says Dr Malhotra. In biological terms, he explains, music affects the limbic system (of nerves and networks in the brain), regulating the release of neurochemicals which affect the mind as well as the body. “It’s really the chill pill,” says ghazal and playback singer Hariharan. “Music brings out suppressed emotions, emotions that we don’t have the time or desire to address,” he adds.

Music is also known to help strengthen the immune system. “The immune system, the neurochemicals and the hormones together form the interface between the body and mind. Whether it is to pump people to workout, or to treat people for rheumatoid arthritis, blood pressure, diabetes, stress, or autism, it’s all in the brain. And music and its effect on the brain are tightly intertwined,” says Dr Malhotra. “But that doesn’t mean you put all your faith in it. Leading a healthy lifestyle is as important.”
So eat right, sleep well, and exercise—and let the music play.

Source and Credit :- http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/7CGEyrSb2XiIOljWqjCV6O/Music-therapy.html

Forwarded By: Jainender Nigam, prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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