Music Therapy and Research Unit of DIMHANS, which was inaugurated by Dr. Mahesh Desai, director of DIMHANS in the last week of July has now officially started conducting Music Therapy. A session was first held on 5th August 2021, in Vishranti Dhama building of DIMHANS for inpatients diagnosed with depression and their family members by Dr. Shridhar Kulkarni, Dr. Manjunath B, and Dr. Shanteri Pai. Also present were nursing staff and students, and other employees of DIMHANS. The session consisted of special ragas specifically recommended for depression such as Darbari Kanada, Brindavani Sarang, and Raag Yaman. Both active and passive forms of therapy were used. The duration of the session was for 1 hour, between 4- pm. Subsequently another music therapy session was conducted on 12th August in the same venue. Music therapy is now planned as a regular intervention for inpatients, once a week every Thursday evening.
For those who are new to music therapy, music therapy involves use of specific ragas to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of a group or individual. Music here is not just recreational, rather a therapeutic approach. Darbari Kanada, or simply Raga Darbari, is a raga in the Kanada family, which is thought to have originated in Carnatic music. In 2019, researchers Samarpita Chatterjee and Roan Mukherjee investigated the effect raga Darbari Kanada (music therapy intervention) on psychological variables such as depression, anxiety and stress among elderly adults. They asked the participants to listen the instrumental version of the raga every day before sleeping at night for a total of eight weeks. The results revealed that the two months music therapy intervention program progressively and significantly lowered depression, anxiety, stress, as well as sleeping problems in the participants. Brindavani Sarang or Brindabani Sarang, also known as Vridavani Sarang or raga Sarang, is a Hindustani classical raga. Raga Yaman consists of consists of 7 notes and is regarded one of the grandest and most fundamental ragas in Hindustani music. All these ragas have been of interest to researchers on management of psychological problems. However, Music Therapy in India is still in nascent stages, and needs to undergo rigorous research using strong methodology.
DIMHANS Music Therapy and Research Unit intends to conduct such systematic research trials to contribute to the understanding of how music therapy impacts a person’s body and mind, and also differential effect of each raga. The Music Therapy and Research unit team is excited and are fully devoted to not only developing the unit and offering services to patients, but also in contributing to scientific knowledge of music therapy using Indian originated ragas.