Sufi music as a method of relaxation

Source: PRI’s The World

Those seeking a non-conventional method of relaxation should turn to music—Sufi music, that is. Sufi, a traditional type of music from the Sufism strain of Islam, is popular among the Turks, as well as in Istanbul’s memorial hospital. Physicians at the hospital play Sufi music to patients as a method of relaxation, a practice that in Turkey dates back to the Ottoman Empire times.

While not to be considered a replacement for conventional medicine, the approach is scientifically proven to work. A 22-patient study, in which stress levels were elaborately recorded, showed that a 20-minute Sufi performance has the power to relax. According to the hospital’s physicians, this is due to the medicinal properties of different melodic systems, or makams, in Turkish music.

Makams are believed to have the power to treat specific conditions as they can promote relaxation or agitation in patients—this can help patients relax, cheer up, and even gain an appetite or lose weight.