Music therapy soothens nerves of COVID-19 warriors

Music therapy soothens nerves of coornavirus warriors

Representative image/Pixabay Image

As COVID-19 frontline warriors, including doctors and police personnel, go through exhausting work schedules stretching up to 12 hours a day, many of them are finding music therapy a tool to ease their stress levels.

Music triggers most parts of the brain and reduces anxiety and modifies stress response and activates the relaxation response, says city-based Anasuya Ravikanti, a professional music therapist, who has been reaching out to needy people involved in the fight against coronavirus.

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Ravikanti, who holds a doctorate in Carnatic music and offers music as therapy to various patients at a corporate hospital here, decided to chip in to support the ongoing battle against the deadly virus and is extending her services to healthcare personnel and others.

"I have already reached out to several doctors and other professionals during the lockdown with my music sessions helping them to cope with stress," she told PTI here.

A Post Graduate Diploma holder in Medical Music Therapy from Chennai School of Music Therapy, she offers her services through "Swarajeevani", an institute set up by her.

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Though she charges her patients, now she is offering her services free of cost to doctors and others involved in the battle against COVID-19, she said.

"Music is a unique human phenomenon. It is the only sensory experience that can activate all the areas of the brain at the same time, simultaneously.

That is the reason why music can influence psychological phenomena such as behaviour and emotions," she said. It can also bring about several physiological changes in the body. Music would act as a stress buster.

"So I thought, as a responsible and concerned citizen, I would do a bit that I can, the vocalist," said adding she had conducted sessions through phone for doctors from different parts of the country.

Dr.G.Ravindra, Professor and Head of the Department, CT surgery at the government Gandhi Hospital here, a designated COVID-19 facility, is among those who underwent a session from Ravikanti.

The doctor said he felt relaxed and stress-free after the session, enabling him to sleep peacefully throughout the night. I thank the Swarajeevani management for their compassion and love for all the frontliners treating COVID-19 patients, he said.

The World Federation of Music Therapy, which aims to promote the therapy throughout the globe, says that auditory sensation can be used as an intervention in medical, educational, and everyday environments with individuals, groups, families, or communities who seek to optimise their quality of life, among other developments.

Music therapy was an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and all of its facets-physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic and spiritual to help clients to improve or maintain their health, she added.

Dr J Srikanth, Head of Internal Medicine at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, said there was evidence that music as a therapy yielded positive results.

However, unlike in the West, there was not much awareness in the country on the subject, he said. If you listen to good music or a song the changes that occur in your brain can well be captured on camera.

That is called Functional MRI. Clinically there is evidence that good music will have a positive impact on patients, Srikanth said.

According to him, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru has been doing trials on this subject with good amount of success.