Hypertension, the pain of cancer and general anxiety - all these have a common healer in music, psychiatrist Richard Kogan said Saturday at the HT Leadership Summit here.
A woman listens to music on headphones
Kogan, himself a concert pianist, said: "Music has unparalleled capacity to reduce pain and anxiety".
"For cardiac patients, music can reduce blood pressure. It can also reduce cortisone (a hormone triggered by stress, which can lead to various illnesses) in the human body," Kogan said. He was addressing a session on "The power of music in healing".
Music can also help patients who have difficulties in speech after having suffered strokes, he said, adding: "Music can also help unlock memories".
Giving the example of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, Kogan said the master pianist, despite suffering from deafness at a very young age, managed to create some of his best pieces because of the healing power of music.
"This science is really exciting," Kogan, who himself uses music to heal patients, said.
Demonstrating the power of music, Kogan, who conducts a private practice in New York, played bits of musical pieces on the piano during the session.
Emphasising the importance of music in treating mental illness, he said: "Mental illness is significantly over represented. All great painters, artists and musicians have significantly more problems than the general population".
He, however, felt that when it came to music, it was individual preference which mattered. Any music that appeals is likely to heal, he said.