Harmonica as a cure


Patients Discover Music Is The Key To Breathing Easier

Those with heart failure, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are breathing easier thanks to a pocket-sized instrument. Harmonica Breathing is one of the topics discussed during the Happy Hearts support group offered at St. Mary Medical Center. The group meets once a month and offers patients support in coping with chronic illness; the importance of medication and breathing techniques.

COPD is the general, all-inclusive term for airway disorders including bronchitis and emphysema. The main symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. As in asthma or heart failure patients, these symptoms can be alleviated through respiratory therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation.

“Harmonica playing facilitates deep breathing and increases lung capacity,” said Bobbi Herron, R.N. class coordinator at St. Mary Medical Center. “Playing the harmonica mimics pursed-lip and diaphragmatic breathing techniques that control breathing rate and shortness of breath. The harmonica is a fun way of learning how to exercise the lungs.”

St. Mary Medical Center’s Happy Hearts support group next scheduled meeting is from 3 to 5 pmon Thursday, July 24 in patient tower conference room 3. (Please use the west, main entrance off of Ash Street.) The support group is free, but advanced registration is necessary by calling 219-836-3477 or 1-866-836-3477.