‘Music in Therapy’: a talk by one of Turkey’s leading authorities Prof. Levent Öztürk

With people increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine, one area that is being heralded for its wellbeing properties is music. Today music therapy is used to treat a wide range of ailments, from reducing pain and anxiety, to fighting dementia, and aiding stem cell transplantation.

This Thursday, Prof. Levent Öztürk, author of Makamdan Şifaya (From Musical Modes to Healing), will be giving a talk in London about music therapy and its benefits to patients. It will encompass scientific studies he and his peers have led, including assessing the impact of different styles of music on individuals given their diverse cultural backgrounds, and how best to deploy music for therapeutic purposes.

Prof. Öztürk’s talk will also take a historical look at how music played a role in traditional healing methods in Anatolia. Records dating back 600 years show that music was a popular form of therapy; the Sultan Bayezid II Complex in Edirne was one of the main centres that, from the latter half of the 15th century onwards, used music to heal psychiatric patients.

One of the most famous chroniclers of this period was Evliya Çelebi, a 17th century traveller who took extensive notes of his adventures across the Ottoman Empire, which included details of its medical customs.

While some modern physicians continue to reject alternative medicine due to the lack of scientific evidence supporting their health benefits, Prof. Öztürk is among those who are conducting extensive research into these traditional, complementary forms of treatment.

In 2014, Turkey’s Ministry of Health established the Code of Traditional and Complementary Medicine Applications offering a guide to when such interventions should be used. Scientific boards were also formed to help establish the rigorous standards for each field of expertise and help galvanise awareness about these traditional treatments, including music.

About Prof. Levent Öztürk

Prof. Öztürk is based at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, at Trakya University in Edirne, western Turkey. He has published three books, nine book chapters, 48 peer review articles, and made over one hundred presentations at medical congresses. He has also received 17 awards and professional honours.

Prof. Levent Öztürk, a leading authority in music therapy
Trakya University’s Prof. Levent Öztürk, a leading authority in music therapy

He first came to prominence through his research into sleep, specifically sleep physiology and pathophysiology, such as sleep deprivation. He co-founded Turkey’s Sleep Society and over the last two decades, has been dedicated to furthering the development of sleep medicine as a separate specialty in Turkey.

During the past ten years, his work on sleep converged with music. His book Makamdan Şifaya is the first evidence-based review of music therapy in Turkey. He is a member of the recently formed Music Therapy Scientific Board, and the founder and lead chair of the Society for Applied Music Therapies (UMTED) in Turkey.

Prof. Öztürk’s medical career started as a graduate of Istanbul University. He completed his PhD at the university’s famed Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine. He then spent two years at Kadir Has University as a lecturer and research associate, before moving to Trakya University in 2003 as associate professor. During this time, he created the Sleep Disorders Unit and Sleep Laboratory. He was promoted to professor in 2009 following his considerable professional and academic contributions.

Among the accolades and research awards he has received are: Most Distinguished Researcher, İstanbul University (2001); Best Published Paper, Turkish Sleep Research Society (2004); Best Scientific Research Award at The European Academy of Otology and Neurotology (2008), and Young Scientist Award from the Trakya University Senate (2008).

His work has been published in numerous medical journals and presented these at international congresses. Until 2012, he served as editor-in-chief of the Balkan Medical Journal, helping it to becoming increasingly cited by other international publications.

Talk details

Title: Music in Therapy – Prof. Levent Öztürk (Trakya University)

Date: Thursday 1 December 2016

Event times: 7pm-8.30pm, refreshments from 6.30pm

Venue address: Yunus Emre Institute, 10 Maple Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5HA

Admission: Free, but pre-event registration required

Registration: eventbrite.co.uk/music-in-therapy-tickets

Main photo © Berna Namoglu/iStock