On 30th July 2020, Dr. Mahesh Desai, Director of DIMHANS officially inaugurated Music Therapy and Research Unit (MTRU) in DIMHANS. This unit will primarily focus on researching effectiveness of music therapy through scientific methods, and also develop systematic methods to use music therapy to aid mental health and wellbeing. Music Therapy and Research Unit will be headed by Dr. Shridhar Kulkarni, Senior Nursing officer, and Dr. Manjunath B., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. The occasion was also graced by Dr. Srinivas Kosgi, Medical Superintendent and associate professor of psychiatry, and Dr. Sreevani Rentala, Nursing professor and Head.
Music therapy is a burgeoning field. What is Music Therapy? Music Therapy is a therapeutic approach involving the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of a group or individual. Music Therapy has many physical and mental health benefits. Several research studies have proven the effectiveness of integrated music therapy in lowering blood pressure, improving cardiac output, and also in reducing stress, depression and anxiety. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) on effects of Music Therapy in Cardiac Rehabilitation (Mandel et al., 2007) found positive changes in systolic blood pressure pre to posttreatment. Combined relaxation and music therapy has also been found to be a feasible and effective treatment to control and manage diabetes (Khoshkhou et al., 2010). Music Therapy has also been found to be an effective treatment for the promotion of relaxation and well-being in terminally ill persons undergoing palliative care (Warth et al., 2015).
Apart from physical health management, Music Therapy is being increasingly used as an intervention for management of mental health problems. For example, Gold et al (2013) conducted an RCT, and found that Music Therapy was superior to treatment as usual for total negative symptoms as well as functioning and clinical global impressions in schizophrenia. A review of RCTS found that Music Therapy was associated with improvements in mood in individuals with depression (Maratos et al., 2008). Group Music Therapy has been found to reduce depression in persons with dementia (Chu et al., 2013). Systemic reviews and metanalysis have also reported that music therapy showed an overall medium-to-large effect on stress-related outcomes.These studies clearly support the effectiveness of Music therapy as an integrated treatment approach for both physical and mental health conditions. Given the high evidence on therapeutic benefits of Music Therapy, DIMHANS’s Music Therapy initiative will definitely be beneficial to the patients and their family members, as well as to the employees and students who are interested in learning this technique.