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Using the healing power of music

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 Bhopal (UNI): Melody King Kishore Kumar's everlasting voice wafting along a ward packed with patients awaiting orthopaedic surgery makes it difficult for an observer to believe that he is actually in a hospital. Music therapy is common these days even in the cardiac ward and operation theatres of Hamidia Hospital, the largest government-run facility of its kind here. The unique experiment began three months back. ''Preliminary results are encouraging,'' claims Hospital Superintendent Sharad Tiwari. ''When Jagjit Singh's ghazals are heard in the OT, it helps in being absorbed in work and patients also feel at ease,'' says Cardiac Anaesthetist Head R P Kaushal.

Ramswaroop Parsai, who is bedridden for the past eight months following severe bone damage to his right leg in an accident, nods happily and says, ''Moy sangeet bhaut achho lage hai (I enjoy music).'' Pointing to his transistor, he says he switches it on at low volume during the intervals when the hospital music is switched off.''Such experimentation is in progress in the developed world for very long and the WHO has also issued guidelines. For an hour every morning and evening, patients are exposed to songs based on Indian classical music. Raag Madhuwanti is supposed to bring persons out of depression,'' explains Dr Tiwari.

Cleanliness and treatment-linked precautions are also communicated by the system whose cost has been borne by the doctors themselves. A physician who does not favour the system says, ''Music definitely makes one tension-free but how useful will it prove in a packed hospital ward? A song may be liked by one patient while another may find it nothing short of cacophony. Headphones can solve the problem.''

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