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Tuesday, June 15, 1999 Published at 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK


Sing and dance to better health

Mothers and babies are said to benefit from song and dance

A Moscow doctor has developed a programme of song and dance for pregnant women he claims makes babies more talented and successful when they grow up.

Andrew Harding: "The method has produced remarkable results"
Dr Mikhail Lazarev has devised a system of musical medicine designed to make the mothers-to-be feel better.

He believes it may be a solution to growing health problems in a country where the state health system is crumbling and life expectancy is falling.

[ image: Dr Mikhail Lazarev has written more than 1,000 special songs]
Dr Mikhail Lazarev has written more than 1,000 special songs
Dr Lazarev's programme does not stop when the baby is born. He has also developed songs for the whole family, songs for waking up, eating, breathing and digesting food.

It has taken Dr Lazarev 15 years and more than 1,000 songs to perfect his system.

He said: "I think that my musical system can improve the general health of all the population. It can reduce infant mortality, and improve the intellect of the people."

Gaining popularity

Slowly, Dr Lazarev's theories are beginning to catch on throughout Russia. In the town of Naberezhny Chelny in the republic of Tatarstan where half of young mothers have signed up to his classes official statistics show that the health of the local population is among the best in Russia.

[ image: Dancing is part of the programme]
Dancing is part of the programme
Chief doctor Dr Flora Akhmerova said: "These children are different. They are well ahead of other kids their age.

"What is more we have fewer premature babies here. Infant mortality has been halved and child illness cut two-and-a-half times."

One mother said: "I feel very well. This method of music will be very good for my baby when they are born."

However, Ann Furedi, communications director for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said song and dance was unlikely to catch on in the UK.

She said: "Anything that encourages women to relax and relieves stress is bound to be helpful.

"But it must be remembered that the Russian health service is in absolute tatters, and that people are quite susceptible to health care schemes that cost no money at all.

"Encouraging women to sing is certainly a very cheap form of ante-natal and post-natal care."

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