Harmonicas have been formally used in pulmonary rehabilitation for about a decade, primarily to help people with COPD or asthma.
Sarasota, FL (PRWEB) September 02, 2014
“Harmonicas have been formally used in pulmonary rehabilitation for about a decade, primarily to help people with COPD or asthma. At this point in time, there are three developed systems,” says Dana Keller, PhD, co-inventor of the Pulmonica. “Although the approaches substantively differ, the goals are much the same – improved health with the assistance and support of some type of harmonica.”
The three approaches to harmonicas in healthcare are as follows:
1. Hospital and most group-based harmonica programs – currently the most common. Harmonicas have been used in hospitals and group-based, mostly elderly, programs for almost a decade. These programs concentrate on playing songs in a group and often hold special recitals. The method requires attendees to learn to play single notes with, perhaps, a few chords. The people who stay with this type of program report enjoying both the social aspect of the group activity as well as their ability to entertain friends and family with their surprising new skill.
2. The ‘Schaman’ Medical Harmonica – first harmonica redesigned for therapeutic use. This uniquely constructed harmonica was developed to increase the number of easily available major chords. A website is available with specially constructed songs for people to play along using ‘rhythmic chugging’ and ‘chordal jamming’ methods described on the website. The ‘Schaman’ was the first harmonica designed for medical purposes, and requires playing songs.
3. The Pulmonica® - first redesigned for the non-musician and for total diaphragmatic movement. This specially tuned pulmonary harmonica debuted last year at the annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH). Made for the non-musician to play with ‘long, slow, deep, complete’ breaths across any three to four holes, it focuses on complete diaphragmatic breathing without hyperventilating – no songs needed. The very low resonant pulses are felt in the lungs (and often in the sinuses) and loosen secretions so they can be more easily coughed out. Unlike any other harmonica, the Pulmonica is tuned to always sound pleasant.
“Just as people have very different approaches to playing the harmonica, their ideas on which of the available harmonicas-for-health methods makes most sense to them also differs. Importantly for many people, the cost of entry factored into which of the methods people said they might be interested in trying,” said Dr. Keller.
The cost of entry and what you get with it for each approach is as follows:
1. Hospital and most group-based mostly harmonica programs typically start people out with an entry-level harmonica at less than $10. When people stay with the program for a while, they often upgrade to a few harmonicas in different keys that cost about $40 each so that they can play along to their favorite music. A $6 booklet covers the basics for this approach, and is available at http://people.uwec.edu/rasarla/research/Harmonicas/Harmonicashealth.htm.
2. The ‘Schaman’ Medical Harmonica is available for $169.95. The website contains a program from beginning through experienced levels of playing that emphasizes chordal jamming and rhythmic playing. (http://www.harmonicamd.com)
3. The Pulmonica® is available from Amazon.com for $99.95. The Pulmonica website contains a program for non-musicians to learn to make belly-breathing a habit while generating meditative sounds that help loosen secretions so they can be coughed out. The website also contains general information about respiratory therapy programs and their recommendations. (http://www.pulmonica.com)
“With three very different approaches and costs of entry, there should be at least one method for just about anyone, musician or not,” continues Dr. Keller. “All three approaches focus on belly breathing as an essential component of the method. Yet, harmonicas supply more than belly breathing – they supply back-pressure, in addition to encouragement, motivation, memory stimulation, and fun.”