The Doctor’s Kitchen Podcast: #65 More Than Medicine (2 of 3). Music as Medicine with Professor Nigel Osbourne

Today I discuss the wonderful world of musical therapy with Professor Nigel Osbourne. His works have been featured in most major international festivals and performed by many leading orchestras and ensembles around the world. He has also composed extensively for the theatre and through his Institute in Edinburgh, is exploring the interfaces of music and science in important areas such as mental and physical well-being.

He has also pioneered methods of using music and the creative arts to support children who are victims of conflict. This approach was developed during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-95), and since then the work has been implemented widely in the Balkan region, the Caucasus (Chechnya), the Middle East (Palestine, Syria and Lebanon), East Africa and South East Asia. He is currently working with Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, and planning a new intervention in Yemen. In 2009 he was awarded the Freedom Prize of the Peace Institute, Sarajevo, for his work for Bosnian children during the siege of the city. 

In today’s podcast we discuss:

  • Nigel’s background and experience in Bosnia, Sarajevo, during the conflict
  • The wave of energy hitting you if you spark joy in children with music
  • How this led to a deeper understanding and exploration of the neuroscience of musical therapy
  • The Neurological, Biological and Psychological impact of music
  • How music is the social glue that enhances our sense of wellbeing and is universally recognisable across cultures
  • The applications across disciplines such as ADHD, Dyslexia, PTSD, Depression, Mental Health and Neurodegenerative disease
  • X-System – A project that aims to predict our neurophysiological reaction based on computational data allowing personalised music therapy
  • How music sculpts our inner senses, our autonomic nervous system and our hormones

Click here to listen to the podcast episode


We also wanted to share with you a project that is very close to Nigel’s heart – Edinburgh Direct Aid.  Nigel is currently supporting a music therapy project they are running in Lebanon. The Director of the project – Dr Denis Rutovitz, is a former Human Geneticist and Medical Researcher, and the Medical Adviser, Dr Colin Cooper, a hugely respected retired Edinburgh GP.  Please do have a look at the work they do, they would be delighted with any support.

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