Panaji: With medical practitioners vouching for music as a therapy to reduce pain and anxiety associated with child birth, especially among first time mothers, the trend is gaining wider acceptance, mainly in urban areas.
"Music therapy cannot be practiced as a pain reducer exclusively, but it can work if it is done alongside scientific treatment," said Dr Venkatesh Neugi, an anaesthetist and a leading figure in pain therapy in Goa.
Margao-based Horizon Hospital, where Dr Neugi practices, has installed a television set in labour room of hospital that plays only music channels.
"There are enough studies which have clearly indicated that it can be an effective therapy," he said.
Dr Neugi said that for patients admitted in ICU, music therapy is one of the remedies when they are on life support system.
"When a person is on ventilator and life supporting instruments, that's a time when we play music near his ears as a therapy," he said.
Similar therapy is also used in treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain in cases like slip disc.
While there are ample studies related to music therapy, one such study, conducted by an MSc student from Belgaum-based KLE Hospital, has hinted that music therapy can help relieve pain and anxiety in "primigravida" (first time pregnant) females.
Ekta Karkal, who graduated with the Obstetric and Gynaecological nursing, has conducted the research for her project in select hospitals in Belgaum, which has substantially proved usefulness of this therapy.
"The subject of non-pharmacological measures for relief of labor pain and anxiety is relatively neglected in health and medical literature. Although, music therapy for pain relief and relaxation has been used extensively, scientific evidence regarding clinical effectiveness of this technique is limited," says Karkal's thesis.
The study was conducted on as many as 60 (30 experimental and 30 control subjects) primigravida women while they are in active first stage of labour.
"Music therapy is an effective, non invasive, cost effective and non-pharmacological method of treatment among primigravida women in labor to reduce their pain and anxiety, and to increase their coping ability and as a relaxation technique," according to the study.
However, music experts feel that classical music-based therapy is more effective in reliving pains.
"The soft music can be a healer. Especially during the time like labour pain, the music can be of great help...Not loud but soft music is always advised," said Manab Das, officiating Principal, Goa College of Music.
Das said as far as music therapy for pain was concerned, music should be played depending on the clock as timings of 'ragas' differ.
"Ragas differ as per the time of the day. The raga for morning is different from afternoon and evening. The music should be played depending on time," Das said.
"...Of course, music has no side effect, so it can always be tried as an alternate therapy along with medication," he said.