HYDERABAD: While art, or the arts, are practices and activities that are aimed at expression, these are often used as therapeutic tools. Practitioners of aural, movement, and painting therapies tell us about their healing benefits.
Music therapy has been popular in the West but has been growing in India over the last decade. Dr Shambhavi Das, Indian classical music guru and a music movement therapist, says music therapy uses the naturally mood-lifting properties of music to help people improve their mental health and overall well-being.
“We generally use music therapy for children with Down syndrome, ADHD, schizophrenia and other mental issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, insomnia and even for high blood pressure in adults and teens. We do the Indian music therapy where we use chants, rhythms, ragas, swaras for healing,” says Shambhavi.
The therapist is trying to revive the ancient Vedic practices through her team, the Indian Music Therapy Association, which has 800 members, including around 50 doctors. Shambhavi has also published 30 papers on Indian classical music and music therapy.
Emotion and motion are interconnected, says Harsha Maheshwari, aka Komet, a dance movement therapy enthusiast. Harsha had started her journey as a dancer then got into healing, therapy and mental-health awareness.
“I then included dance and healing into my performances and workshops. My workshops have a lot of self-awareness activities such as playing a song and asking the attendees to move and dance in a way that they dedicate the dance to their body, instead of another person.
I have noticed that dance is such a divine art form that it is highly vibrational. Any kind of vibration that can change your mood and get you out of somewhere, which is going to make you feel much better. Through dancing, you are not just venting it out, but also creating at the same time. Be it good or bad, you are just getting it out and creating a movement. Dancing gets you back to your base and makes you feel it’s normal for you to move and heal a certain way,” says Harsha.
In a regular dance class, the teachers might or might not talk to you, their priority would be to teach you the dance forms, know the choreography and you leave, says Harsha. “In a dance movement class, it’s so much about you; you are the focus. The teachers would try and get the most organic movement out of you. When you enter and leave a dance movement class you’ll see a difference,” she adds.
Sehar Ali, a holistic counselling psychologist, uses art as a medium of expression and creativity. She has been a counselling psychologist since the last 18 years.“Creative art and movement in therapy are very liberating and cathartic for anyone who paints because they it’s not about their artistic ability and talent; it is more about getting in touch with your creative energy and heal using art as a medium of expression.
In regular art, there are a lot of rules that people start worrying about, but when it comes to art and movement in therapy, one can use their own strokes and draw as they feel like,” says Sehar.