The cure of music

Music therapy can come in handy while treating mental disorders, hypertension, neurological and psychological issues

By Author Ranjan Das Gupta   |   Published: 1st Jul 2019   12:12 am Updated: 30th Jun 2019   10:23 pm

Dr BC Roy was attending to a critical patient in 1958. While prescribing him regular medicine, Dr Roy also advised him to listen to Tagore’s melodies. As the patient looked questioningly, he smiled and said music was a true healer. The patient had stomach ailments and was also suffering from a nervous breakdown.

Music therapy is gaining in importance. Even plants react to music. If there is a loud cacophony, they bend towards the opposite direction. Soothing soft music sees plants naturally slant towards the source of music. These mainly happen during late night and can be observed only with X-ray eyes, say botanists.

According to Dr Sumita Saha, an eminent paediatrician in a Kolkata-based hospital, newborn babies up to the age of 28 days respond well to soft music below 50 decibels. It helps babies develop sound health. Music contributes vastly to soothing and strengthening of their nerves.
Generally, music therapy is related to curing of mental disorders, hypertension and neurology problems. But today’s jet-paced life, nuclear families and uncertainties among urbanites give rise to a lot of psychological issues, which lead to loneliness, overconfidence and even depression. Resultantly, there has been an alarming rise in suicide cases. Music therapy plays an important role in curing such ailments.

Members of the iconic Beetles understood this at a later stage. Success, adulation, popularity, money and fame do not exactly give peace of mind. Gross materialistic mentalities generally lead to various diseases. Habits of drinking and smoking also increase with material instincts.

An Old Concept

Music therapy is not a new concept. It was practised during the early days of Charak and Susrut (comprehensive text on ancient Indian medicine on Ayurveda). But later it was not much experimented with. Now medical research is revealing the benefits of music therapy. The six ragas and 36 raginis, as well as western symphonies, if properly performed do touch unknown chords of every human heart. Music thus acts as a healer.

There are sceptics too. Many contend that music cannot heal cancer, gastro or dengue patients. True, but even such patients with perhaps the exceptions of accident victims and sufferers of dengue or encephalitis, do benefit from right doses of music, which console, inspire and heal.

Just as to err is human, falling sick is natural. A disturbed mind, a tormented soul or a depressed human being can get a new dose of life with music therapy. When Florence Nightingale attended patients, she often chanted hymns and rendered the immortal lines “Sing them over to me again, wonderful words of life”. They elicited fabulous results.

Hidden Undercurrent

Music is a hidden undercurrent that enables cure. When renowned heart specialist Dr KK Aggarwal checked heartbeats of a patient in the ICU of a Delhi hospital and declared she only had fluctuating blood pressure, the patient smiled in joy. A 24-hour voluntary ambulance service by HimanshuKalia, Delhi’s Ambulance Man, moving critical patients to hospitals even risking his own life has witnessed many smiles of relief. Healthcare baroness Sangita Reddy’s heartwarming smile at being termed Anastasia the last Czarina by an unknown person did inspire his disturbed mind to look at life with positivity and move ahead.

In such cases, there is no music playing in the real sense. But music flows like a clear stream of reason in all these noble activities proving there is classicism untold in musical form in these aspects of healthcare which can neither be noticed with a bird’s eye view nor felt that easily. Only a sensitive mind with a positive attitude can feel and agree to it.

Many Benefits

Music therapy has many benefits. A patient from Tamil Nadu used to get irritated at small issues. After a thorough treatment at Christian Medical College, Vellore, doctors suggested music therapy for him. Doses of western classical music, mainly compositions of Beethoven and Bach, helped him cool down his irritation. The patient also became an avid listener of Ali Akbar Khan’s sarod recitals.

When an established medicine specialist of Kolkata scoffed at the idea of music therapy in the mid-80s, he was admonished by legendary Dr Sital Ghosh. Dr Ghosh pointed out to the doctor, his junior, that music therapy was being regularly practised in advanced countries of Europe and the US and was yielding satisfactory results.

The use of music therapy is growing in importance today. There is now no doubt that music heals naturally. It stimulates the nervous system of a human being and also brings solace to countless disturbed minds. The emotional quotient of music also has a beneficial effect in the sense that many misunderstandings are solved. The classic example is that of President Truman, who admired the compositions of Chopin.

Deeper study on music therapy is needed to know the importance and understand this uncommon way of healing. George Bernard Shaw rightly said that one who hates his parents, music, flowers and children, possesses murdering instincts. Thus music therapy should be universally practised to save countless patients who need to be cared for.

(The author is a freelancer based in Kolkata)

Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on WhatsApp / Telegram everyday. Click these links to subscribe and save this number 9182563636 on your contacts.

Click to follow Telangana Today Facebook page and Twitter