Raga Chikitsa: Ayurveda's Take On Music Therapy
Updated: Oct 16
The deeply calming music from Raga Meditation can be used to ease depression, control blood pressure, and tackle insomnia. Created specially for you by world renowned Sri Mahesh Vinayakram, Dozee's Raga Ahir Bhairav is a delightful treat.
The healing power of music is something every culture in the world recognizes. The Greek father of medicine, Hippocrates, used to play music for his patients, way back in 400 B.C. The hospitals in ancient Arab countries used to contain music rooms for the benefit of the patients. And in the aftermath of the World Wars, Europian musicians used to play music for soldiers suffering from physical and emotional trauma. Similarly, Indian cultures have been using music therapy for thousands of years.
Ayurveda, India's ancient medical science, has a specific branch that involves the use of music to heal ailments of the body and mind, known as Raga Chikitsa, chikitsa meaning treatment in Sanskrit.
While Raga music definitely has an impact on the mind - creating a feeling of well-being, it's effects on the physical body need more scientific research to substantiate. The available research thus far, however, shows positive results with Raga therapy as an effective tool to deal with both physical and mental disorders.
A social research article on the effects of Raga Therapy on the human body published by The International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research mentions that Raga therapy can alleviate anxiety, control blood pressure, fight insomnia, and treat symptoms of depression. Similar benefits were shown by a control group study detailed in the research paper titled Study of Indian Classical Ragas Structure & its Influence on Human Body for Music Therapy.
Raga Therapy for Insomnia and sleep ailments
Ragas use ancient Indian instruments like Rudra Veena, Santur, Sarangi, Bansuri, to generate melancholic tones that can bring down the listener's brainwave activity to match that of a person in deep sleep. Raga Ahir Bhairav in particular is an excellent tool to turn off the mind's incessant thinking and fall asleep.
Legend has it that Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, the chief of the Gwalior Gharana, is supposed to have cured Benito Mussolini, leader of the Itlay's National Fascist Party, of insomnia while on a trip to Italy. During the same visit, the legendary singer is believed to have broken into the mellow strains of Raga Kafi to calm down a ferocious lion in a Kabul Zoo.
Raga Therapy for Depression
Raga music pacifies anger, excessive mental excitement & mental instability, easing depression.
While Dr. T.V. Sairam, president, Nada Centre for Music Therapy, New Delhi, was lying in a hospital waiting for his surgery, he chose to listen to melancholic raga music to ward off depression. “The sadness in the music was different from the sadness in me. My grief was chaotic. I had too many disturbing thoughts and was miserable. But the sorrow expressed in the music was an organized pattern of soothing notes. I was able to synchronize with that. Joyful music would not have worked then. The impact was wonderful.”
Raga Therapy for Controlling Blood Pressure
Certain Ragas like the Ahir Bharav can lower the listener's high blood pressure, by improving respiration and easing the stress on the heart.
Legend has it that the renowned vocalist Tansen, one of the treasured navratnas (nine gems) of Mughal Emperor Akbar's court, lit up lamps with his spectacular presentation of Raga Deepak (the raga of fire). Later, however, the maestro had to tune into the soothing Megh Malhar (the raga of rain) to seek relief from the intense heat generated by Deepak. Here, fire and rain are representative of intense emotions felt by the audience of Tansen.
Raga Ahir Bhairav Meditation
Ahir Bhairav is a morning raga. This raga technique has developed from the tinkling sounds of the cows' bells while they are being milked early morning. What a calming effect that has on an individual needs no imagination. Bhajans are often based on Raga Ahir Bhairav.
Dozee's Raga Ahir Bhairav, created by the exceptionally talented Sri Mahesh Vinayakram, is an effort to introduce you to the world of benefits associated with this ancient Indian branch of Ayurveda. Try it now, on the Dozee App.