The Score Magazine June 2017 issue - Page 34

MUSIC & MEDICINE Music Therapy: Music is a universal language. It is a familiar fact that music influences an individual both on a physical and mental level undoubtedly. Modern science and medicine are now rediscovering the healing powers of music and its therapeutic values. Music Therapy is a scientific method of effective cure for disease through the power of music. It restores, maintains and improves emotional, physiological and psychological well-being. The articulation, pitch, tone and specific arrangement of 'Swaras' (notes) in a particular raga stimulates, alleviates and cures various ailments inducing electromagnetic changes in the body. Music to the rescue! Did you know that each classical raga has the capability to cure innumerable diseases? Well, it actually goes way back to the biblical times where even the old testament mentions music therapy where King David is said to have cured an illness by playing on the harp. Not just that. In 1729, Richard Browne, a physician wrote the famous text,“Medicina Musica” which describes the use of music as medicine. Dr. Burnell, mentioned a manuscript named Raga “Chikistsa” in the collections of the Saraswati Mahal Library in Tanjore which deals with the various ragas that can be used for curing various ailments. How does it work? Repeatedly, listening to a particular raga, chosen for a particular disease, produces a network of vibration. This vibration concentrates on the muscles, nerves, and chakras of the affected area. Muscles are contracted when one impulse is given and relaxed during the interval between two impulses. Hence, when a tissue contracts, musical notes make the blood flow out of the area and in the interval there is relaxation and a state of reduced pressure is produced in these areas. Thus, the blood from the adjacent area will flow there. This process is repeated again and again, simultaneously, the blood flow and the energy flow in that part is enhanced. Due to this, a faster healing process commences. Energy from the “Universal Energy Field” to the “Human Energy Field” are transmitted by the strokes of different tones of the raga, affects the “Central Nervous System” because of the roots of the Auditory nerves that are widely distributed and have more connections than any other nerves in the body. Music beats and our hearts have a deep staunch relationship. So, what kind of an effect does music generally have on us? Any music or rhythm that is as the same number as the heartbeat, i.e. 72, has a very soothing effect whereas lesser than that creates a positive suspense in the mind and body and acts as a relaxation period before it starts anticipating for a much faster beat which is more like a rejuvenation. Bidding farewell to Depression, Anxiety and Sleep Disorders– Kapi Ragam: Kapi is a 'janyaraga' with a winding scale. It is derived from the 'Kharaharapriya Raga' which is the 22nd 'melakarta raga' in the 72 'melakarta raga' system. Its equivalent raga in Hindustani is Pilu. Arohana : S R2M1P N3 S Avarohana : S N2D2 N2P M1G2 R2 S Kapi is 'aaudava-Vakrasampoorna' raga with an ascending 5 swaras and a descending scale with 7 swaras but not in a descending order. Not just that. Since it has swaras that do not belong to the parent scale, it makes this a 'Bhashanga Ragam'. This raga is known for its ability to cure depression and anxiety. The 'swara' structure is such that each tone that is produced from each 'swara' has a great impact, taking into consideration the concept that was discussed earlier. Especially due to the presence of different 'Nishada swaras', the mood of the raga and the vibration it creates accelerates and activates the tissues in the brain and sets a soothing mood. The right timing for practicing such music therapy sessions is essential. Each raga has a performance time and luckily Kapi does not have any such restrictions and can be performed at any time of the day/ season. According to a study that was conducted in 2012, while listening to Kapi Raga, Sleep disorder patients and those suffering from depression have increased alertness and decreased feelings of anguish. The findings of this study suggest that Kapi Raga can be used as a rehabilitative tool for curing these ailments. In the subsequent editions, we’ll look into other ragas and its medicinal values. Author- Raghavi Upendiran. She is the Chief Instructor for Carnatic Vocals at Sahanas - Live the Dream. Raghavi started her music training at a very young age from renowned musicians like P.S. Thyagarajar, Smt. Gayathri Mahesh and Smt. Padma Sandilyan,Pandit Shri Kuldeep Sagar and Pandit Sri Ramamoorthy Rao. She was recognized for her music therapy skills by MSSW and received an award for the same in 2012. For more details visit 32 The Score Magazine