Music therapy for arthritis is a well-accepted medical treatment and plays an effective role in healing various ailments and relaxing the muscles. Human beings have an inborn tendency (ability) to appreciate and respond to music and listening to ragas aim at bringing relief to various ailments that do not respond to costly medicines.
Music has been an integral part of both Indian and western culture. In Ayurveda, there are treatments for ailments with songs and musical instruments. Music therapy for arthritis is gaining good opportunities in India.
Music is a universal language and is not necessary for one to understand music to gain positive effects of the therapy. The therapy can be passive (listening) or active (live, individual or group performance). It is claimed that ragas such as Ahirbhairav, Bhairavi, Kalyan, hindol, Yaman, Jayajayawanti and Gunakali are supposed to be useful in patients suffering from various bone ailments like arthritis.
The curative power of music is that the resonance of certain ragas affect hormonal and glandular functions and help in producing secretions that keep the body balanced and infection free. Percussion instruments (Tabla, drum, Dholak, etc) is used for patients who suffer depression whereas instruments such as Sitar, Flute, Santoor, Guitar and vocal music can be played for excited and hyperactive individuals.
For centuries humans have been using forms of music as therapy. The therapy may sound new to this generation but is a therapeutic concept that existed long long ago. The therapy helps in releasing endorphins and other substances from brain that lead to changes in heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. For music therapy, psychological aspects are important to determine chronic pain. Many conditions such as fibromyalgia are determined to be psychosomatic diseases.
Music therapy for diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia (regional pain syndromes) reduce severity of pain and improve quality of life. According to a research, elders with osteoarthritis showed significant reduction of pain on listening to music everyday. Music therapy is not just playing cassettes. The therapist needs to understand psychology, medicine and music types to heal the ailment in patients.