by - Dr. T V Sairam

Music with Guided lmagery
As the musical melody progresses, the therapist explains imaginative events, situations, characters which are further elaborated by the patient. Several symphonies in the Western classical system, particularly those of Tchaikovsky could be utilized by the therapists for activating the imagination of the patient vis a vis the melody played, which not only induces satisfaction in the patient but also greatly helps in overcoming his problems such as depression, trauma and other psychological ailments. Such method is also reported to have considerable impact in lowering one's heart rate.

Music Therapy Practices: Locations and Environs
The patient should have a comfortable place without noise and disturbances. He should be seated in the way he finds most convenient although yoga postures such as padmasana or vajrasana should be of great help. Simple steps involved are: (1) Close the eyes (2) Play or mutter soft/slow music, (3) Focus on the breathing process (For instance, by simply placing hands on abdomen one becomes aware of the movement of that part of the body during breathing) (4) One could use meaningful mantras such as 'l' m good'. 'The Environment around is gracious and Kind' 'God is kind and protective' etc. Phrases such as 'I' m loved', 'I love me', 'I' m good' etc.; result in erasure of depression and as one absorbs music one absorbs all positive vibrations from Nature, which are conducive to good health and well-being.

The Duration of Therapy
There can't be any hard and fast rules on the duration of musical inputs. The prescribed music can be played even when the person is in deep sleep or coma. As rhythms are linked to the heartbeat, more music one received is better for the needy. However, instead of playing the music continuously, it can be given with some short. Music as a therapy, is not exclusive for just a disease; it is meant for all patient groups. From the terminal ill to the temporary sufferer, it suits everybody and guaranteed no side effects Alzheimer patients, chronic pain sufferers, premature infants, terminal patients etc., all respond to the healing power of music. Symptoms of anxiety, depression and pain in terminally ill are overcome by the healing power of music.

Thanks to music, multiple handicap patients gain a variety of skills. It provides a solid foundation for learning various skills including speech, language, self-care and adaptation. In long term care setting; music is used to exercise a variety of skills. Congnitive games help with long and short-term memory recall. Music, combined with movement as in modem gym and aerobic sessions, improve physical capabilities. Music by itself or in combination with other media such as art, aroma or dance offer unlimited scope for experience for the sensory- deprived, which is caused by coma, injury or degenerative diseases.

Music emanating from certain instruments is also regarded therapeutic. For instance, in South India, sweet strains from veena are believed to ensure smooth and safe delivery of the child in advanced state of pregnancy. In Carnatic system, there is a practice of concluding the concerts, bhajans, kalakshepams etc., with the raga Madhyamavati. it is a raga, which takes the first three notes in the cycles of fifths and fourths (samvada dvaya) and naturally has a high degree rakti. When sung at the end, it imparts a state om equilibrium and tranquility in the listener's mind.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the music treatment sessions. Basically, it is the convenience and the need of patients that counts. Frequency of sessions could be daily or on alternate days. It can last for anywhere between 1 to 5 hrs for optimum results. Higher frequency is always better and would not be harmful as in drugs and other forms of treatment.

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