Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood glucose level. It is caused by insufficient production of insulin in the human body. It is a lifestyle disorder commonly associated with obesity, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle habits. The most common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, weight loss, lack of energy and delayed wound healing. Diabetes does not have a permanent cure; however, it can be stabilized by controlling the blood glucose level. Besides oral medications and injectables, treatment of diabetes includes diet modification, regular exercising, lifestyle changes, weight regulation and other alternative therapies such as music therapy.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is the scientific method of using music and sounds for the treatment of various medical conditions. It is a process where a music therapist uses different components of music such as emotional, mental, physical, aesthetic, spiritual and social components, for bringing about positive changes in an individual. It acts at the psychological level which in turn helps in physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of the patient. It helps in replacing negative thoughts such as fear, anger, depression, hatred, jealousy, hopelessness etc. with positive emotions. Music therapy also helps the patient in becoming emotionally stronger, confident, and optimistic towards life.
Music Therapy for Diabetes
Diabetes is a complex condition that affects the human body at multiple organ level thus making it difficult to follow a particular line of treatment. The treatment module varies from person to person. Studies have proved that music therapy helps is controlling diabetes by maintaining blood glucose level within accepted limits. Music therapy helps in controlling hyperglycaemia in the follow ways:
- Music improves mood and reduces stress level, which is one of the known risk factors of diabetes.
- Music helps in regulation of blood circulation and thus helps in absorption of glucose.
- It stabilizes pulse and blood pressure.
- It stabilizes metabolism and digestion which improves the secretion of insulin from pancreas.
- Music therapy prevents secondary complications of diabetes by improving immunity and risk of infections.
How is Music Therapy Used for Diabetes Patients?
Music therapy works on the principle of coordination between beats of the music with patient's heart beat. When the beats of the music are equivalent to normal heart rate, it brings about a soothing effect on the body, mind and soul. Rhythms that are below the normal heart rate create calmness and tranquillity; whereas, rhythms that are above the normal heart rate create excitement and exhilaration. Music creates electromagnetic changes in the body that affects brain waves, breathing, heart rates, blood pressure, state of mind and overall wellbeing of a person.
It has been suggested to expose diabetic patients to soothing music either early in the morning or at dusk, ideally on an empty stomach. This helps in focusing on positive thoughts and improving metabolic functions. Some therapist use slow music initially and gradually increase the tempo. Once the tempo reaches the highest bearable threshold it is reduced back to zero. This helps in controlling blood glucose level by acting on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve conductions.
What Kinds of Music are Chosen in Music Therapy for Diabetic Patients?
A large variety of music is used for treatment of diabetes. The most effective among these are the ragas used in Classical Hindustani Music. These include: Raga Kalingara, Raga Lalita, Raga Ramkali, Raga Hindola, Raga Bahaar, Raga Malkaus, Raha Deshkara, Raga Bahirava, Raga Kafi, Raha Hansadhwani, Raga Bihaga, and Raga Jaijaiwanti. Music therapy audios are easily available in music libraries and online stores.
Benefits of Music Therapy for Diabetes
It has been observed that music benefits patients with diabetes in the following ways:
- Relaxation of blood vessels and improves blood circulation.
- Strengthening of immune system.
- Reduction of stress level by controlling levels of cortisol and oxytocin.
- Improvement of mental balance.
- Promotes exercising.
- Coordination of muscles and nerve systems.
- Improvement in sleep and appetite.
- Reduction of anxiety and depression.
- Overall wellbeing of a person mentally, socially and physically.
What Other Medical Problems Can Music Therapy Heal Apart from Diabetes?
In addition to diabetes, it has been found that music therapy has beneficial effects in mood disorders, depression, anxiety, stress, hypertension, cancer, asthma, acidity, arthritis, insomnia, obesity, pre-natal development, language development, autism, behaviour development and other lifestyle and mental disorders.
A large number of physicians recommend music therapy for treatment of diabetes in addition to the conventional method for a synergistic approach. It has been seen that, music therapy, when used for a good period of time, reduces the intake of medications and accelerates healing. However, it should be noted that music therapy on its own does not cure diabetes. It should be used as an adjunct to conventional line of treatment. It may not provide a complete solution, but it will help in acceleration and amplifications of conventional treatment plan.