Music being used to heal isn’t a new concept. In fact, soulful melodies have long been used to treat patients since ancient times. So, when Dr J Sreekanth, Chief of Internal Medicine at Apollo Hospitals set out to do research on using music as a form of healing maladies of patients, there was tons of information to peruse through. His explanation behind the therapy is a simple one.
“Sound energy delivered through music in calibrated dosage can evoke neural response in the body. Such a therapy is highly personalised and is based on the issue being faced by the patient. There is a perception that it is raga-based, actually, it’s swara-specific. Based on the stress given to each note, the sound generated through the vibration activates the energy centres and releases endorphins,” says Dr Sreekanth who is trained in Carnatic music since childhood.
His father, Ushakanth, is a veteran lyricist, composer and singer and helped Sreekanth in composing the 72 items of Melakartha ragas in Carnatic style for his album.“As a physician, I know what type of health problems a patient has and observed a certain amount of psychosomatic depression in those suffering from diseases. So, apart from using conventional methods of treatment, I try to see that their mental well-being is also healthy and positive. Music is a powerful took to do that,” adds Dr Sreekanth.
Having started this project in 2011, he also released an album centred around it in 2015 and has since treated many patients using this method. One particular case that stood out was that of a lab tech who was suffering from health issues and had suicidal tendencies. “Some 9 minutes into the session, he fell into a deep slumber listening to music. This was a person who hadn’t slept much for 10 to 15 days.
Another one was my own father who suffered a cerebral haemorrhage some time ago and went into a coma for 10 days. So, I placed headphones on his ears and put on one of his compositions from my album. His eyes opened and he regained consciousness and attended the recent programme ‘Naadatanumanisam’ as well,” says Dr Sreekanth, who is now visiting many colleges and seminars, targeted at the intelligentsia to spread awareness about musical therapy.