A serv­ing of clas­si­cal mu­sic a day can keep the doc­tor away

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

S uf­fer­ing from mi­graine? Or is in­som­nia turn­ing your life into a liv­ing night­mare? A dose of Mozart might help. Sci­en­tific ev­i­dence has proven how mu­sic can al­le­vi­ate symp­toms of can­cer, fight de­pres­sion and help with pain man­age­ment.

Dr Arun Ku­mar Sharma, spe­cial­ist neu­rol­o­gist at Medeor 24x7 Hospi­tal in Dubai, ex­plains that clas­si­cal mu­sic is ther­a­peu­tic and can have pos­i­tive ef­fects on med­i­cal out­comes and well­be­ing.

He says: “Mu­sic ther­apy is a vi­tal en­gine to heal­ing headaches, epilep­tic seizures and cog­ni­tive dis­or­ders.

“Dr Frances Rauscher stud­ied chil­dren with men­tal dis­abil­i­ties and he found that after mak­ing them lis­ten to Mozart, their IQ in­creased by eight to 10 points. Of course the ef­fect is only short last­ing, but it gave an im­pe­tus for the re­search,” he says.

Ac­cord­ing to the Can­cer Re­search UK, pa­tients use mu­sic to help cope with side ef­fects of the dis­ease. A Stan­ford Univer­sity study, mean­while, shows those di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion saw im­prove­ment in mood and self-es­teem after lis­ten­ing to sooth­ing sounds.

Dr Sharma says it also helps in his prac­tice: “We lis­ten to mu­sic pre-surgery and while op­er­at­ing, like cello while do­ing en­doscopy. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to Abu Dhabi Clas­sic FM in my car for the past 10 years.”

But what about pop and rock tunes? Well, he says, all mu­sic is good: “It’s like a uni­ver­sal lan­guage. How­ever, most of the re­search has been done on clas­si­cal, and it re­ally is the foun­tain­head of gen­res. Pop stemmed from jazz, and jazz stemmed from clas­sics.” We don’t have an estab­lished mu­sic ther­apy pro­gramme in the UAE yet, but he says an “in­tro­duc­tion to good mu­sic or ex­plor­ing YouTube” is a good start.


Dr Sharma says mu­sic helps the brain re­lease dopamine, the feel-good chem­i­cal, which pro­motes the healthy func­tion­ing of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem. “In turn it has an im­pact on emo­tion, per­cep­tion and move­ment. It can help lift your mood and calm anx­i­ety.”

Ob­vi­ously, avoid any melan­choly mu­sic. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony can be up­lift­ing. An­tonin Dvo­rak Symphony No 9 and even some of the Richard Wag­ner’s Ride of the Valkyries could make you get up and go.


The Mozart Ef­fect in­di­cates lis­ten­ing to the com­poser’s com­po­si­tions can help in the per­for­mance of dif­fer­ent men­tal tasks. Dr Sharma rec­om­mends the The Sonata for Two Pianos (K 448) to help stu­dents con­cen­trate. “Of course every one has dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal taste and ap­ti­tude, it all de­pends on the child. “Par­ents must get to know their child and

their mu­si­cal in­cli­na­tion, maybe he likes Char­i­ots of Fire. After school, just to wind them down, play some The Blue Danube by Jo­hann Strauss.”


Preg­nant women are quite stressed and have high level of cor­ti­sol (steroid hor­mone) in their body that can neg­a­tively af­fect the baby. Lis­ten­ing to Bach, Beethoven and Mozart can help with that too.

“Foe­tuses that have been ex­posed to clas­si­cal mu­sic dur­ing their stay in the womb showed pos­i­tive re­sponse in their learn­ing curve when they lis­ten to the same mu­sic again as in­fants,” says Dr Sharma. “It also in­creases mother-child bond­ing, and lin­guis­tic skills have found to be bet­ter in chil­dren ex­posed to clas­si­cal mu­sic.”


Dif­fer­ent mu­sic is rec­om­mended for dif­fer­ent times. “In the morn­ing you can play Ed­vard Grieg’s Morn­ing Mood. It’s a very sooth­ing tune and kind of slowly wakes the baby up.” And for bed­time, the pop­u­lar Jo­hannes Brahms’ Lul­laby is still the clas­sic best.

TUNE IN: Mu­sic can help in the heal­ing process, re­duce anx­i­ety and stim­u­late the brain

MU­SIC MAN: Dr. Arun Ku­mar Sharma

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