Music and medicine concert set

Published 8:57 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A program next week at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will introduce the community to the healing benefits of music.

The Sentara Music and Medicine Center is hosting the event, which will feature French concert pianist Prisca Benoit, the artist-in-residence with the Sentara Music and Medicine Center.

Sentara neurologist Dr. Kamal Chemali will give a “mini-lecture” before the concert begins on the benefits of music for health.

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“Music can create a sense of relaxation,” he said. “It distracts the minds of patients from being focused on their problems.”

Music can decrease blood pressure, decrease anxiety and improve pain management, Chemali said. It also has a profound effect on the internal regulatory system — “the part of the nervous system that controls things that are not under your direct control,” like pulse, breathing and digestion, Chemali explained.

“Music secretes our natural morphine, and this also helps in reducing the pain,” Chemali said. “There are different mechanisms, but the result is that multiple studies, more than 100 studies in the past five years, have shown music can reduce patients requesting pain medications.

Chemali said it’s more difficult to discern why music has this effect on the human body than it is simply to measure the outcome.

“The why is difficult to answer,” he said. “There is special wiring, and we know that already, in the brain that music uses in order to modulate the rest of our physiology.

“Even before you decide if you like the music or dislike it, music has had an effect on your body,” Chemali added.

The upcoming Music and Medicine Mini Lecture and Concert will take place at June 15 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., with a 5:30 p.m. program and 7 p.m. reception. Admission is free, but RSVPs are appreciated by June 12 by calling 1-800-SENTARA (1-800-736-8272).

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