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In ancient China, music therapy was considered a form of holistic healing. Now in modern day Shanghai, doctors are revisiting the ancient art and prescribing it to patients.
Chinese doctors are looking back to ancient practices to cure health problems. Recently, music therapy, has been gaining ground as a means to help patients with hearing conditions.
The five notes from traditional Chinese music are believed to correspond to the five main organs of the body—the spleen, lungs, liver, heart and kidney. In particular, music therapy is being applied to treat tinnitus, a condition of perpetually hearing ringing in the ear, despite no external source.
Dr. Li Ming, who specializes in ear and throat treatment, is examining the potential of using music therapy for other ailments.
[Dr. Li Ming, Chief Physician, Yueyang Hospital, Shanghai]:
"On top of the existing musical therapy treatments, Chinese music therapy is targeted toward treating the energy imbalances in our body which causes psychological discomfort. Through listening to the five ancient Chinese notes, we are looking at whether there are any problems with the five main organs."
The aim of music therapy is to holistically heal internal and external problems. While some patients claim it is not effective physically, they have benefited from the mental healing.
[Hu Ping, Patient]:
"I would not say music therapy directly influences my ear ringing. It is only giving you some music to your brain. We know it can never fully treat this problem. The main thing is still the psychological aspect. If you sort out the psychological problem, everything else does not matter."
Some patients might suffer from ear ringing for their whole lives, but Dr. Li hopes the music therapy will help them ease off from focusing on the problem.