Tag Archives: raga therapy

Therapeutic Effects of Indian Music in Acquired Brain Injuries

Music Therapy is the prescribed use of music and music related techniques to assist and motivate a person towards specific, nonmusical goals. Music therapists use their training to effect changes in the cognitive, physical, communication, social, and emotional skills”. Music Therapy is basically sound energy therapy.

NMT or neurological music therapy is defined as “the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions due to neurologic disease of the human nervous system.” In the field of neuroscience today, music is considered as a powerful tool to understand brain functions and music–brain–behaviour interactions. Findings from the field of neuroscience have provided an edifice leading to the development of a science-based approach to music therapy practice and research.

Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS)- Music therapists use techniques that stimulate brain functions – a common one being rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS). This relies on the connections between rhythm and movement, wherein, the patient is stimulated to relax or move through the use of music of a particular rhythm.

 

 

Why Raga Music is more Therapeutic than other Music-Cultures?

raga impact on brain

raga impact on brain

Music in India has great potential in this study because Indian music is melodic and has somewhat different pitch perception mechanisms. Western classical music which is based on harmonic relation between notes versus the melodic mode (raaga) structures in the Indian Classical Music System (ICM) within the rhythmic cycle music may demand qualitatively different cognitive engagement. The analysis of EEG data to determine the relation between the brain state condition in the presence of ICM and its absence would therefore be an interesting study. How rhythm, pitch, loudness etc. interrelate to influence our appreciation of the emotional content of music might be another important area of study. This might decipher a technique to monitor the course of activation in the time domain in a three-dimensional state space, revealing patterns of global dynamical states of the brain. It might also be interesting to see whether the arousal activities remain after removal of music stimuli.

There are a few unique aspects of raga music which may be considered more therapeutic and recommended for healing. However, there is a scarcity of rational researches in the field, whereas, west music has been researched and has gained pretty much authenticity. But there are various unique elements in raga music or Indian music which can be considered as the medium of more explorations and analysis and further for healing.

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Music Mends Relationship

TV actress and host Vrushali Mandal was a great violinist apart from being a so-so actress. After an year of her successful career, her love life started deteriorating with an obvious reasons and finally it came to an end. Since Vrushali was committed to her work, she continued to act mechanically but fully shattered from within. Her lonely apartment pinched her with the lovable memories and she went into chronic depression. For two months, she locked herself in a room, when a music academy was opened in just the next door. The inevitably audible music of the duirinal classes surpassed her ears daily, which initially made her vexed. Gradually, her depression streaks started plummeting and her gormlessness subsiding. She joined the classes and found her life more towards acceptance and value of relationship. One fine morning, she called her boyfriend to apologise and patch up the stuffs. They kickstarted their life and in an interview she shared a statement, “Tunes and sounds have played a great role in my life; I would suggest all to value music at all times.”

The rhapsodic tunes of music reverberates our soul to an extent that it can change our attitude towards life and people around us. The sonic currents of musical tunes penetrates our body and pleasure hormones called dopamine and  estrogen and balances them. Researches reveal that constant listening to your favorite tracks alters the perspective we have for people and we try to see people with more positive and accepting glairs. Fast and slow tracks also contribute essentially in the attaining and subsiding the optimism in people. Fast tracks generally stimulates one whereas the slow ones relaxes our mind. Soft and slow music unleashes the brain knots which have been tightened throughout the long day of routined office and family life. Fast tracks stimulates us and compel us to get energized to execute something more productive. In a way both the music do good in their own way.

Indian music therapy that’s the raga therapy have nemeity of specific ragas for the specific kinds of psychological and mental issues like negativity, non-acceptance, bewilderment in decision making, or depression. For instance, Raag Ahir Bhairava is beneficial for relaxation, Raga Dwijawanti quells paralysis, Raga Hansdhwani injects energy and vitality, Raga kafi fights with depression and anxiety. Similarly ragas like Keerwani, Kokilam, Neelambari, Ranjani, Hameer, cures the physical degeneration like kidney diseases, insomnia, arthritis, etc..

Read out another story of Sarah Myers, an extremely passionate and enthusiast student of Smith Cotton University. What she thinks of being into the musical environment; How she perceives being born as a musician; How she managed to gather scholarships.

Why Raga Therapy is more effective than other music

Like many valuable stuffs, our Indian heritage comprises of a treasurous element called ‘Shastriya’ or Ragadari sangeet. Our ragas, primarily ancient ragas, had been derived  considering a rational aspect relating to mind and health issues.

There are 72 melakarta ragas (parent) from which other numerous ragas have been created.  An ancient text, Swara Shastra states that 72 melakarta ragas (parent ragas) control the 72,000 important nadis or nerves in the body. “Neural research proves that the 72 ragas can control 72 nerves in the human body. Singing or performing a Raga, when bound to its specifications (lakshanas) and with purity in pitch (swara shuddhi) gives the performer complete control on the corresponding nerve.”

Indian ragas are modal or tonic : Indian musical system stands at one tonic note which is called swarit throughout a particular raga performance. All the subsequent notes gravitize on the swarit. This longevity at one chord for hours instills stability and peaceful mind hence more active brain. Also, this shadaj gravity imbibes groundedness and humility.

Exhibits specific note structure and nature: Ragas are the specific set of notes formed by the combinations and permutations of twelve notes in 22 shrutis. Listening to specific set of notes framework for a longer period plays a vital role in healing.

“The sonic patterns of musical currents are recorded with the help of oscilloscopes and the pitch, amplitude and wavelengths of the constituent sound waves are analysed in the laboratories of Brahm Varchas, which helps in studying the effect of music in stress management.”

Ragas That Heal

Sonic effects of the different combinations of swaras are the key factors in music therapy. Therapists and researchers are still analyzing the logic behind which ragas can really become instant healer for a particular disease. However, common day to day problem has indeed found solution in raga healing.   

Ragas do heal when rendered properly with correct pitch, balanced use of vadi-samvadi, addressing the proper feel and emotions. To name a few, Bihag and Bahar are used for sonorous sleep, Hindolam raga improves digestive power, Shivaranjani treats memory power. According to Mittal (2003) and Dr. Sairam (2006), Ahir Bhairava cures arthritis and hypertension, Darbari Kanhada cures headache; Yaman and Bhoopali increases concentration.

“Dr. Herbert Spencer experimented with the people suffering from high and low  blood pressure and found that fast melodies having sharp notes are effective in normalizing the blood pressure while slow melodies having soft or komal swaras are helpful in lowering the BP.” Thus, Ragas like Asawari and Malkauns works as a heeler for BP patients.”

I would conclude my paper by a logical statement by Sairam Sir,

“It has now been recognized that ragas are not just mere commodities of entertainment; the vibrations in their resonance can synchronize with one’s moods and health. By stimulating the moods and controlling the brainwave patterns, ragas could work as a complementary medicine.”