Pleasure and pain

Music plays a central role in the healing and medicine of the Circassian (or Adyghe) people of eastern Europe

A particular rite known as ‘Chapsh’ was used for injuries such as snakebites or bullet wounds. A violinist would play songs and children would perform dances, often about epic tales of heroes. Their aim was to soothe and distract the patient and to get them to identify with the heroes’ courage.

The roots of this rite are said to lie in the treatment of Kodgeberduko, a hero of the Caucasian war, who had a bullet removed from his leg, with a folk tune acting as an anaesthetic.

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Music, Mind and Medicine’ in June 2009 and reviewed and updated in July 2014.

Health, infection and disease, Medicine, History
Music, Mind and Medicine
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development