Members of the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) and Rajalakshmi Fine Arts trickled in as the pleasing notes of the tanpura reverberated in the convention centre at Ardra Hall. FLO had organised a talk, ‘The Healing Touch — Music and the Mind’, as part of Coimbatore Vizha.

T. Satish Kumar, founder, Rajalakshmi Fine Arts, threw light on the healing power of classical music. D. Sathyaprakash of ‘Airtel Super Singer 3′ fame, mridangist Madurai Narayanan and violinist Sindhu Dilip lent musical support to Dr. Satish’s lecture.

Soothing notes

The presentation began with a quote by the famed American musician Billy Joel — “I think music in itself is healing”. On that note, Dr. Satish, vice principal of PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, went on to explain the role and effect of Indian classical music in medical therapy. For every raagam Dr. Satish dealt with, Sathyaprakash performed a corresponding classical number. “Not only humans experience the healing powers of music, but also animals and plants,” said Dr. Satish and mentioned that in Europe, a lot of dairy farms had classical musicians performing for the cows. “It was observed that cows that listened to classical music produced more milk. It has also been found that orchids and a number of rare species of plants grow well when music is played in greenhouses.”

He also spoke about the physiological effect of classical music on humans. “When we listen to music, our body releases more ‘happy hormones’ — pheromones and endorphins,” explained Dr. Satish.

The raagams he dealt with during the course of the evening included Sahana, Sankarabharanam, Anandabhairavi, Abhogi, Bilahari, Atana and Neelambari. Correspondingly, Sathyaprakash rendered Sri Vatapi Ganapathiye, Saroja Dala Nethri, a thiruppugazh, Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s Sabapathikku Veru Deivam, Maamayura Meedhil, Nee Iranga Enil and Amba Neelambari.

Dr. Satish, whose research on Anandhabhairavi and its effects in pain management is to be published soon, briefed the audience on how his study was conducted. It involved 300 patients who underwent hernia surgery, appendectomy and thyroidectomy. One hundred and fifty of them were made to listen to Anandabhairavi for five days (pre- and post-surgery). “About 98 of them did not require pain medication at all. The others required only half the dosage,” said Dr. Satish. “We did not observe any changes in the pain quotient of the patients who did not listen to the raagam.”

Dr. Satish, who is working on raagam Ahiri and its effect on weight loss, pointed out that listening to authentic renditions of raagams could do wonders in medical treatment. “Music might not be a reliable form of primary therapy. But, it provides excellent support while a person is being treated for illness,” he said. “Music cannot replace medication. It can, however, reduce the need for medication.”

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