In an era of no pain relief, such hymns may have helped to ease physical suffering in a world where women frequently died in childbirth, and fatal diseases meant a significantly shorter life expectancy than those living in the United Kingdom enjoy today.
Understanding the healing potential of
music is not a new subject. Despite numerous scientific studies on the link between music and health, it remains an under-utilised practice.
Dr Cruickshank talks on radio national
More about Dr Cruickshank's book
For more on music and health, contact Australian Music Therapy Association