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The use of music to improve health was recognised and prescribed by Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoras
26.06.09 - 11:54 -

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When I prescribe music as a complementary treatment to stress, insomnia, lack of concentration, hypertension and a myriad other health problems, I am following in the tradition of ancient Greek and Roman scientists and healers. The use of music to improve health was recognised and prescribed by Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoras.
While the ancient scholars relied on their experience and intuition in claiming the health benefits of music, modern science has supplied us with numerous research studies documenting the real effect of music on our lives. While most research points to “classical” music as musical medicine of choice, personally I prefer to specify Baroque music for its specific therapeutic effects.
Composers from the 17th and 18th centuries, including Vivaldi, Bach, Telemann and Corelli, wrote a particularly precise style of music with strict harmonies and structure. This style and structure has repeatedly demonstrated specific physiological changes for listeners - heart rates slow down, blood pressure lowers and the relaxing alpha waves of the brain increase. One of the most intriguing effects of Baroque music is increasing and improving the function of the “Corpus Callosum”, or the bridge between the right and left sides of the brain. What all this means in practical terms for the listener of Baroque music is that you are in a calmer physical state but with a more focused and productive mind!
The physiologic benefits of listening to Baroque music continue to develop over the long term with regular listeners reporting higher pain tolerance and increased “super sleep” - the experience of deeper levels of sleep over fewer hours.
A study earlier this year showed that Baroque music improved the mood, productivity, concentration and diagnostic efficiency and accuracy in a group of radiologists participating. “Other studies have noted improved spatial reasoning, attentiveness and concentration and personally, I have found that listening to music aids my concentration and interpretative abilities,” said Dr. Paras Lakhani, one of the study’s lead authors.
Last week, I attended a Baroque music concert at the Picasso Museum in Malaga. The playing was flawless and, as far as health benefits go, I can report that the desired effect of Baroque music was obtained that evening on the audience. Overall, a sublime state of being.
Dr. Anthony practices General Medicine in the Axarquía

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