The Working of Raga Therapy
Raga therapy works in conjunction with a music therapist. The music therapist assesses the emotional and physical health of the patient through musical responses and then designs music sessions based on the client's needs. Music therapy works in a number of different ways as music helps the patient do different things and provides different benefits. Some of the ways in which music therapy helps patients are:
- Keeping the patient's attention
- Structuring time
- Providing an enjoyable method of repetition
- Helping memory
- Encouraging movement
- Tapping into memories and emotions
Dr Bhaskar Khandekar from Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) is the first modern music therapist in India. He started his practice in 1993. He uses selective music for selective diseases, helping patients improve their observable level of functioning and self-reported quality of life in various domains like cognitive functioning, motor skills, social and behavior skills by using music experiences in singing, song writing, listening to and discussing music, moving to music to achieve definite treatment goals and objectives.
Another famous music therapist from North India is Roop Verma. A professional sitarist, he uses the restorative power of music to maintain and improve emotional, physiological and psychological well-being in his patients. He uses pitch, tone and specific arrangement of ‘swaras’ (notes) in a particular raga that stimulates happiness, and alleviates and cures various ailments, inducing magnetic changes in the body.
Dr. Balaji Tambe has proved through his scientific research that Raga Bhupali and Todi give tremendous relief to patients of high blood pressure.
Clinical music therapy was started in 2005 at the Centre of Excellence in Delhi. Seven centers in and around Delhi treat people with the aid of music therapy. This has changed the lives of clinically disadvantaged, especially those with autism or other mental and neurological behavioral disabilities. The Music Therapy Trust has successfully introduced clinical music therapy in India as a discipline.
It is best to conduct music therapy treatment early in the morning, in the evening or at night. Long sessions, which may prove strenuous, should be avoided, the best duration being that of one hour. One should have a light meal before the session, as an empty stomach is not is not the physiological ideal. A workable duration for music therapy would be - two or three short sessions with breaks in between – the whole session totaling one hour.
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.
Studies have shown that RAS therapy improves the walking speed of a patient by an average of 14 meters per minute, compared to standard movement therapy. It helps patients take longer steps. In one trial, RAS also improved arm movements, as measured by elbow extension angle.
Other Raga therapy techniques, including listening to live and recorded music, are employed to try to improve speech, behavior and pain in patients with brain injuries; outcomes were mostly positive.
Depression Raga therapy has been the subject of study for a reasonable period of time now. As one knows, music is a powerful form of expression that delivers messages by the combination of rhythmic sound and words. Raga therapy depression researchers are confident of the effectiveness of music in therapeutic applications.
Where do Music Therapists Work?
Music therapists work in a variety of different places. Some of those places include:
- Psychiatric hospital, working with the mentally ill
- Medical hospitals, working with all types of patients
- Rehabilitative facilities
- Day care treatment centers
- Community mental health centers
- Drug and alcohol programs
- Nursing homes and senior centers, working with music therapy and the elderly
- Correctional facilities
- Music schools and ordinary day schools.