Music therapy fast catching up with Indian doctors

first_imgBe it legendary Mozart’s soothing symphonies, mesmerising classical renditions from the doyen of Carnatic music MS Subbulakshmi or tranquil instrumental tunes, music therapy is increasingly being used for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, autism, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, coronary artery disease and even cancer in India.Worldwide, specially-trained musicians are emerging as music therapists to help patients, especially in chronic and painful conditions, to help patients recover faster. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Although there are not many trained therapists available in the hospital setting in India at present, the trend globally is slowly catching up with the Indian health providers, who now realise the clinical and evidence-based benefits of music. “Many a time, music is being used alongside other therapies, particularly in patients suffering from depression and anxiety. Music is also being used as part of therapy for children suffering from autism and patients suffering from auditory hallucinations alongside medication,” explained Dr Sameer Malhotra, director (mental health and behavioural sciences) from Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“We are also using light instrumental music and even Indian classical music for relaxation and as part of therapies for patients suffering from depression, anxiety or undergoing other treatments,” he said. Listening to relaxing music has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in healthy patients undergoing invasive medical procedures like surgery, colonoscopy and dental procedures or patients coping with coronary heart disease and cancer.“Listening to music releases neurochemicals through the limbic system (brain structures that deal with emotions as well as memories). It also restores the neurochemical balance. The recovery depends on the genre of music being applied so we have to be careful in selecting music according to patient’s needs,” Dr Malhotra explains. Music therapy covers all aspects of the patients like physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, cognitive and social needs. Music reduces levels of stress hormone called cortisol. Additionally, there are changes that occur in other neurohormones related to the mood states of mind. Dopamine is one such hormone that is involved in producing the pleasurable sensations, thus enhancing positive emotions and diminishing depressive states.“For example, there is evidence suggesting an effect of Mozart’s music on dopamine system which reduces depression. However, there are factors that determine the effect of music and these include the personality and the cognitive traits of a person,” informs Dr Shilpa Aggarwal, consultant child and youth psychiatrist from Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai. “Music therapy also helps stabilise moods, identify a range of emotions and improve self-expression,” elaborates cardiologist Dr Lekha Pathak, also the executive president of the Heart Foundation of India.There is plenty of evidence for music therapy reducing depressive symptoms in adult population when compared to placebo and psychotherapy.“We have seen that children with behavioural and emotional problems who received music therapy had significantly improved self-esteem and significantly reduced depression compared with those who received treatment without music therapy,” Dr Aggarwal notes.last_img

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