Meditation and Healing
Dr. Ram Vempati & Dr. Phanishree Pydimarri
Meditation and Healing Concert; February 4, 2017; Auckland, New Zealand
The traditional Indian concept of Nada Chikitsa (healing through music) compared to the conventional is Western thought of Music therapy is a more complex and comprehensive approach because it deals not just with the music but several allied traditional aspects and interventions. The traditional approach of Nada Chikitsa not only talks of an external intervention by a therapist or one-self but also describes the internal energy phenomenon (the inner sound) that continuously attempts to set right the equilibrium of the milieu interior and the delicate balance in mother nature and its complex laws of which we all form a part.
Music is a part of everyday life and research shows that music affects mental, physical, and emotional states. These qualities make it a valuable tool in helping us to recover health and well-being. Per Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji the benefits of the music therapy include but are not limited to — Relief from pain and discomfort, reduction of stress, improved understanding of medical treatment, improved coping, strengthened immune system, decreased costs, empowerment to participate to have control in treatment, strengthened family bonds, continued developmental growth, improved patient and family satisfaction, and the most important: spiritual upliftment. It is understood that there must be a need-based approach and design of music sessions for individuals and groups based on their needs using ‘improvisation’. The various techniques adopted would include; - receptive listening, active singing, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance and learning through music.
Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji uses a combination of the Indian Ragas (musical scales) based on their aesthetic appeal, self-Composed lyrics (with resonating powerful seed letters or mantras), and various astrological calculations, healing energy of the crystals and gems, bonsai trees relevant to the musical scale, and, of late, the specific bird related to the raga, along with a self-improvised combination of various natural and instrumental sounds on selection of appropriate the frequencies during live music and in the studio recordings.
A comprehensive compendium on Sri Swamij’s. approach to Music and Music therapy explaining the various facets of Swamiji’s concept and process of Nada Chikitsa is the Ragaragini Nadayoga. This is a reader-friendly treatise with content extending from basic musicology to advanced therapeutics. It serves as a good companion for musicians, musicologists. litterateurs, scientists, researchers, medical doctors, and all those who are interested in exploring the depths of therapeutic music in general and Sri Swamiji's Nada chikitsa. The relationship of the raga (musical scale) -rasi (zodiac) -ratna (gem) -nakshatra (stellar consteliation) -tatva (element) -mulika vruksha (herbal tree)- chakra (metaphysical energy center of the body) -the body parts and the healing potential of the different ragas identified hitherto are explained in detail in the treatise. These serve as a starting point for researchers exploring the various dimensions of music therapy. The Nada Yoga Research Center in Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore is a state of the art center to provide individualized experience of a healing session in controlled environment with comfortable reclining seats; computer piped music heard through individual headsets with volume control. The center has registered more than 5000 users since its commencement two years ago [should rewrite, within two years of opening?]. Most of the people who underwent these sessions rate their experience as remarkable and rejuvenating.
Original research on Nada Chikitsa (music therapy):
There were 60 subjects screened initially and 17 were excluded because they did not match the inclusion criteria, hence total 43 subjects were enrolled (average age 54 ± 13 yr) for the study who was required to commit to either a daily session of music intervention for at least four days in one week (daily music therapy, DMT; n=17; average age 54.6 ± 17.5 yr) or a four week once-a-week music intervention sessions (weekly music therapy, WMT; n=19; average age 56.3 ± 8.4 yr) and a control group of 7 subjects (CG, average age 48.1± 8.6 yr) were participated in this study. The data was collected at the SGS Hospital Music Therapy Centre, Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore, India.
Variability (BFV)/Stroke Volume Variability (SVV) by using Nivomon (Non-invasive Continuous Cardiac Output & Peripheral Blood Flow Monitor) series equipment, which is based on impedance plethysmography principle manufactured by Larsen & Toubro Limited (India) with a technology transfer from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), India. Protocol for Nivomon testing: After 5 min of rest, a 5 min Nivomon (baseline) recording was taken. The music/control intervention was then given to the participant. During intervention after ten minutes, another 5-min recording was taken. After the music/control intervention, a S min post recording was taken. For DMT group subjects, the first and last day (within a week); for WMT, all the four weekly visits the same above
On the first and last day of study period, all the three group subjects were introduced a State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire and Dartmouth Primary Care Cooperative Information Functional Health Assessment (COOP) questionnaire; pain analog scale (pre-post of each session) and cardio-physiological parameters (pre-during-post of each session) such as Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Cardiac Output Variability (COV), and Blood Flow Variability (BFV)/Stroke Volume Variability (SVV) by using Nivomon (Non-invasive Continuous Cardiac Output & Peripheral Blood Flow Monitor) series equipment, which is based on impedance plethysmography principle manufactured by Larsen & Toubro Limited (India) with a technology transfer from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), India. Protocol for Nivomon testing: After 5 min of rest, a 5 min Nivomon (baseline) recording was taken. The music/control intervention was then given to the participant. During intervention after ten minutes, another 5-min recording was taken. After the music/control intervention, a 5 min post recording was taken. For DMT group subjects, the first and last day (within a week); for WMT, all the four weekly visits the same above protocol was followed for collecting Nivomon data.
There were many dropouts from each group, hence only 33 subjects (DMT=11, WMT = 15; CG = 7) STAI, COOP and PAS data was analyzed for statistical purposes. This data was analyzed based on the distribution of the data (parametric and non-parametric) by using appropriate statistical methods. There were decreased levels of state and trait anxiety scores in both daily and weekly group subjects when compared with control group and improved COOP scores of overall health and its subdomains (i.e. physical activities, daily activities, social activities, pain, feelings (anxious), quality of life, social support, and change in health). Pain analog scores were reduced significantly immediately after the therapy session in both daily and weekly group subjects but the magnitude was more in daily group. All the Cardia Output & Peripheral Blood Flow parameters were in support of sympathetic
This study is also supporting previous studies on Music Therapy or Nadi Chikitsa as a perfect cardiac rehabilitation intervention in conjunction with conventional treatment, but with comprehensive scientific evidence subjective and objective assessments. Further studies are required post-operative conditions to evaluate the efficacy of Nada Chikitsa in surgical hospital settings.
Sri Swamiji's music is unending and exhaustive and this is only a humble attempt to enlist some of them and is neither complete nor elaborate.