The One Liner

How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

Pavani Mantripragada
February 20, 2023. 4 minute Read

How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

Folklore says that Miyan Tansen, the court singer of Akbar, could bring rain through his music. His Guru, Swami Haridas, could enchant even the Cowherd Krishna of Vrindavan to appear as Banke Bihari. 

Folklore aside, music can heal everyone. 

Come on, a Cat’s Purr is proven to be healing. That is music to my ears!!!

But, it is a proven aspect that Music has a remarkable ability to heal people. It is excellent at healing trauma and certain mental diseases. Music is a great healer for those with Autism. It can calm them down. So is the same for anxiety. Every time I struggle with anxiety about something, I plug into some music, and the effect is calming. 

How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy
How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

How Does Music Heals People?

A sound is a waveform. The sound produces vibrations that affect a lot of things. Even the four gross elements: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Several universities are trying to create a fire extinguisher that uses sound vibration to put out a fire. 

How sound reflects back from a rock and creates a reverberating pattern is already known. Many temples were built with the same thoughts. The stones used in the Temple were constructed using granite or marble. These rocks have an incredible ability to amplify sound waves. When a sound with an optimistic effect clashes against those, it creates an amplifying experience. This whole experience has had a tremendously positive effect on us. 

In the primary state, our body also contains the four gross elements. Water, Heat, Air, and Earth. 

Hence, it also creates an effect on our body physically. 

To explain why music affects the mind, you need to learn about Brain Waves. 

Neurons (brain cells) interact in two ways: through waves or chemical influxes. Chemicals are passed all over the brain and have various functions. The waves generated in the brain for the interaction of neurons are called Brain Waves or Neural Oscillation. The external sound waves or frequencies produced can tap into these brain waves. When you tap into these brain waves, it will change how the brain interacts and works. This is exactly what music does. 

Music with specific frequencies passes through your ears, interacts with the neurons associated with them, and forms a brain wave. This brain wave can transform other brain areas because the whole brain is a mass of neurons. 

How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy
How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy
How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

Relationship between Indian Ragas Frequency and Healing Effect

Now that we have discussed how music affects brain waves, you will be surprised to know that Indian Ragas can tap into the brain waves of humans. 

The sapta swaras, seven notes of Indian Classical music Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, are divided into three octaves. These seven notes together are called Saptak. Mandra Saptak, Madhyama Saptak, and Taar Saptak. Each consists of the same sapta swaras, but their frequencies differ. Each Raga consists of these sapta swaras. Mandra is the one with lower frequencies. Madhayma is the primary frequency. Taar are higher frequencies. 

In Hz (Hertz) Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni
Mandra
120
135
144
160
180
202.5
216
Mandhyama
240
270
288
320
360
450
405
Taar
480
540
576
640
720
810
864
How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

Each Raga will consist of a mixture of these saptak. 

These frequencies clearly have their presence within the Sapta Swaras and the Saptakas. Each Raga containing even one of these saptaks can aid in so much healing. 

How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy
How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

Raga Therapy

No, this is not some joke. There is evidence to back this that these Ragas can heal various diseases. Physical ailments as well as Mental Struggles. Try out going to a classical music concert next time. Let us know if you feel that difference in your mind. 

The 72 Raagas within Carnatic and Hindustani music can correspond to the 24 Cranial Nerves and 62 Spinal Nerves. That is how the whole system of Ragas can aid in healing the mind and the body. 

Bhairavi Provides relief from Sinus, cold, phlegm, toothache
Bihag and Bahar For sound, sonorous sleep
Chandrakauns Treatment of heart ailments and diabetes
Darbari Relief from tension
Darbari Kanara Eases tension and provides relaxation
Malkauns, Asavari Cures low blood pressure
Shivaranjani Treats memory problems
Tilak-kamod, Hansdhwani, Kalavati, Durga Easing tension
Todi, Bhupali, Ahir Bhairav Provides relief from cold and headache, high blood pressure
Table Source: International Journal of Innovation, Management, and Technology, Vol. 2, No. 1, February 2011 ISSN: 2010-024856

Kafi Raga evokes a humid, calm, soothing, and deep mood. At the same time, Raga Pooriya Dhanasri produces a sweet, deep, heavy, cloudy, and stable state of mind. Raga Mishra Mand has a pleasing, refreshing, light, and charming touch. Raag Bageshwari arouses a feeling of stability, depth, and calmness.

A group of physicians in London has also done research to show that these Ragas aid in helping.

How Music Heals People: The Science And Aesthetics of Indian Music Therapy

Final Thoughts

While we talk about Indian Ragas and their therapeutic effect, several other traditional music styles also have an impact on the brain. The Indian Ragas have their own specific place in this beautiful Music Therapy. While you can enjoy your favorite pop music, healing can always be done at him through your own Carnatic or Hindustani Music. So, take a weekend trip to a place that is putting up a concert for Carnatic or Hindustani music. Let us assure you, you will be healing from it.

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