As his fingers moved on the piano keys, it was not difficult to understand why New York-based concert pianist and psychiatrist Dr Richard Kogan claimed for music the power of therapy.
In an hour-long session on the second day of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit aptly titled ‘The Power of Music in Healing’, Dr Kogan elaborated on the concept.
"The 21st century sees music and medicine as separate. During earlier times, spiritual healing was quite popular and the healer would make use of musical instruments like drums," said Dr Kogan explaining the science behind the therapeutic powers of music.
Dr Kogan put his faith in music on the stage enthralling the audience with four musical pieces, two each from composers Ludwig van Beethoven and George Gershwin.
According to Dr Kogan, listening or playing music reduces stress levels by releasing the hormone, cortisol.
It boosts immunity and releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is also released during pleasurable activities such as sex or eating good food.
Music is beneficial for heart patients as it reduces high blood pressure and in stroke patients, it is known to restore speech and motor functions; it arrests cognitive decline among the elderly too.
"Music needs to be part of the healing techniques adopted by a psychiatrist. It should not replace traditional medicine, rather supplement it. We need to make it a part of traditional therapy as it makes the recovery faster," he said.
Dr Kogan recommends his patients not to just listen to music but to make music as well.
"I especially recommend community listening or playing, where the entire group is enjoying rather than merely tuning in to ipods and other gadgets," he said.