Psychiatrist says don’t underestimate the power of music in healing medical illness.
Distinguished U.S. psychiatrist and concert pianist Richard Kogan said during the December 6-7 HT Leadership Summit, that hypertension, the pain of cancer and general anxiety all have a common healer in music.
During his talk, “the power of music in healing,” Kogan explained that “music has unparalleled capacity to reduce pain and anxiety.” He added that “for cardiac patients, music can reduce blood pressure. It can also reduce cortisone (a hormone triggered by stress, which can lead to various illnesses) in the human body.”
Music can also help patients who have difficulties in speech after having suffered strokes, he said, adding that “music can also help unlock memories.”
Kogan used German composer Ludwig van Beethoven as an example. Despite his deafness at a very young age, Beethoven managed to create some of his best pieces because of the healing power of music. “This science is really exciting,” Kogan, who himself uses music to heal patients, said.
Demonstrating the power of music, Kogan, who conducts a private practice in New York, played bits of musical pieces on the piano during the session.
Emphasizing the importance of music in treating mental illness, he said that “mental illness is significantly over represented. All great painters, artists and musicians have significantly more problems than the general population.” He said that when it comes to music though, it is individual preference which matters ― any music that appeals is likely to heal.
Dr. Kogan, who is also a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Artistic Director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, has gained renown for his lecture/recitals that explore the role of music in healing and the influence of psychological factors and psychiatric and medical illness on the creative output of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and Bernstein.
There is a growing body of research indicating a positive effect of music on controlling high blood pressure as well as stress. RESPeRATE is the first medical device clinically proven to lower blood pressure. A device user puts on headphones and attaches a sensor around the chest. The sensor automatically analyzes the person’s breathing pattern and creates a personalized melody composed of two distinct inhale and exhale guiding tones. By simply listening to the melody, the body’s natural tendency to follow external rhythms enables the user to easily synchronize their breathing with the tones. Within a few minutes, the muscles surrounding the small blood vessels in the body relax, blood flows more freely, and blood pressure is significantly reduced.