|Anaesthetist Dr Erol Can (left), playing a yayli tanbur, an Ottoman violin with Professor Bingur Sönmez holding a flute. Doctors in the Istanbul hospital are reviving ancient musical therapy for a variety of illnesses. Photograph: Jonathan Lewis|
The Guardian recently published a piece entitled, "Turkish doctors call the tune with traditional musical cures." A hospital in Istanbul is using complementary therapy for a range of illnesses by playing ancient Arabesque scales and patterns (see photo above). Stressing that music and healing is not new, the doctors explain how different pitches and patterns produce varying effects. For example, Dr. Sonmez says that "Without having to prescribe additional drugs, five to 10 minutes of a certain musical piece lowers the heart rate and blood pressure." He further states, "We are not doing anything new, and we are not reinventing the wheel . . . The positive effects of music therapy have been known for well over 900 years." According to the article, the use of musical instruments "was integrated into medieval Islamic medicine as early as the 9th century, when scholar and philosopher Al Farabi discussed and cataloged the effect of different musical modes on body and psyche." Dr. Somnez says the staff sometimes play music for each other on break so that everyone is "cared for."
To read the full article from the Guardian click here.
And for another look at the healing power of music, watch The Story of the Weeping Camel from national Geographic. "When a Mongolian nomadic family's newest camel colt is rejected by its mother, a musician is needed for a ritual to change her mind" from IMDB. Trailer below.