This topic contains 40 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Koziol 1 day, 6 hours ago.

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  • #20342
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    I signed up for a harmonica (beginners class) at a local Center for Lifelong Learning and Development. I have never played an instrument before, but thought if I can learn, the harmonica would be a fun pulmonary rehab class. The instructor told us to buy a Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C and First 50 Songs You Should Play on Harmonica paperback from Amazon. I may even check out free web lessons with Liam Ward — during homework/practice time. If I receive my harmonica and book before Monday, I will start my first class that day. Stay tuned (PUN)!

     

  • #20350
     Charlene Marshall 
    Keymaster

    Woah, that is awesome @lorraine and as you say, what great exercise for your lungs! I’m really curious to hear how the learning goes, good for you for taking on this new challenge. I also have longed to play an instrument – I tried guitar last year and it was very hard for me but you’ve inspired me to try again I think. Looking forward to hearing how it goes and kudos to you for learning this!

    Hope you’re doing as well as possible.
    Take care,
    Charlene.

    • #20356
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      Hi @charlene-marshall:

      Always nice to hear from you and I hope all things considered you are doing well. I have lost track of things. HI vacation. Transplant. New vehicle.

      I have made some attempts in learning instruments and then dropped out …

      I will keep you posted on my harmonica adventure.

      Thanks,

      Lorraine

      • #20390
         Charlene Marshall 
        Keymaster

        Hi Lorraine,

        Thanks for writing, it is wonderful to hear from you as well!

        Things are going as well as possible – still trying to trudge through the chaos and exhaustion of work, some days are great and others aren’t but it is all part of the coping I guess. Hawaii planning is done which I am thrilled about  (except the car rental) and it’ll be a nice balance of doing different activities and relaxing. I booked this tour, and I truly can’t wait to experience this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdlOdewlQ4A&t=41s

        Thanks for checking in. How are you doing? How is the harmonica class going?

        Take care,
        Charlene.

      • #20394
         Lorraine 
        Participant

        Aloha @charlene-marshall:

        The Hawaiian trip sounds exciting and that tour looks amazing. I enjoyed looking at the tour footage and scenery. WOW. I look forward to hearing about that in particular. I admire that you are doing this trip by yourself. I still look at tours of interest but have not booked.

        I am doing well, mahalo for asking. Missing my walks due to heat advisory here. Will get to the gym tomorrow.

        The harmonica and book should arrive today, therefore I will take my first lesson on Monday. Stay tuned.

        Best wishes,

        Lorraine

         

    • #20461
       Steve Dragoo 
      Participant

      @lorraine,

      Hi Lorraine,

      If you google Buddy Greene harmonica, one search should show Buddy Greene – classical harmonica medley on YouTube. It is less than 5 minutes and was filmed at Carnegie Hall NYC just 6 months after 9/11.  Hope you enjoy it.

      Steve

      • #20469
         Lorraine 
        Participant

        Hi Steve @steve-dragoo:

        Thanks for sharing!  Buddy Greene was amazing. I really enjoyed watching and listening to that performance. WOW.

        As it turns out I am going to switch from the harmonica to the pulmonica. “The Pulmonica is a special Pulmonary Harmonica that produces deep, resonant sounds felt vibrating in the lungs and sinuses. No musical talent is needed – just breathing deeply through the Pulmonica is therapeutic and always sounds great.”

        You might be interested in checking out the website pulmonica DOT COM and specifically the research tab. Would like to hear your thoughts on this breathing device.

        I hope you are doing well considering.

        Good to hear from you.

        Best wishes,

        Lorraine

         

         

  • #20355
     Cynthia 
    Participant

    They’ve started a free harmonica class where I go for pulmonary rehab. Let me know how you like it.

    • #20357
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      Hi @cynthia-comery-ferguson:

      Oh yes, I will let you know if I like the harmonica class and how I do.

      Then if you take the class we can compare notes (PUN) … I would be curious if they do anything different in a pulmonary rehab harmonica class.

      Best wishes,

      Lorraine

    • #20471
       Steve Dragoo 
      Participant

      @lorraine

      Hi – when I first saw you say deep resonant sound I thought of a didgeridoo. LOL  I think the vibrations could be helpful in stimulating blood circulation too and that could help mitochondria and ATP. Hope it works for you.

      Steve

      • #20473
         Lorraine 
        Participant

        Hi Steve @steve-dragoo:

        Ha, about a year ago I looked at the How to Strengthen The Breath and Expand Lung Capacity for Wind Instruments via didgeproject DOT COM website (free-didgeridoo-lessons to strengthen, breath, expand lung capacity wind instruments.

        Thank you for your encouragement, I hope it helps too.

        Lorraine

         

  • #20358
     Malcolm Mann 
    Participant

    Hi I play ukulele, & have for ages, the uke is a lot easier to learn the guitar being only 4 strings, (less left hand dexterity required) they’re much more convenient too. They come in a bewildering assortment of shapes, classes, prices and sounds, and you can sing while playing, this may or may not be an advantage.

    One of the dangers in playing the uke is the probable of suffering from another little understood disease, UAS the dreaded “Ukulele Aquision Syndrome”, where too many ukuleles are never enough, I’m now down to 7.

    Cheers

    Mal

     

    • #20359
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      @mal-com:

      Good to know!

      My center also offers a ukulele class and the group is very friendly and fun. So at some point, perhaps I will try that class too.

      Thanks the the tip and encouragement

    • #20476
       Steve Dragoo 
      Participant

      @lorraine

      Had a didgeridoo years ago…

  • #20386
     Carol N Lenahan 
    Participant

    Wow, what a fun way to work on ones diaphragmatic breathing!  Enjoy.

    • #20395
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      Hi Carol [email protected]:

      I thought it sounded like fun too and yes I also hope it helps my diaphragmatic breathing. My other goal is to improve my PFT approach, I do not follow instructions well and altho the tech is patient, he gets frustrated with me. So I hope this helps.

      Thanks for your note.

      Best wishes,

      Lorraine

  • #20400
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Hi Lorraine.  I asked about pulmonary rehab to help with slowing progression of IPF dx’d 15 months ago. Told I needed none.  Harmonica class sounds like it would help!  I will be interested in hearing how it affects your PFT’s too.  Where did you buy your harmonica?  Sounds like an exercise that would be fun!  Oh, are you pre-lung transplant or post in order to get rehab?  I don’t want transplant for several reasons but would like to maintain my health as much as possible.  I plan to check to see if our College for Continuing Education has harmonica classes.  Thanks for good idea!  Will be following.

    • #20401
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      Hi Linda @swanlw45:

      We were told to buy a key of C harmonica. I bought the Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C from Amazon for $10. At the same time, I purchased the required song book, First 50 Songs You Should Play on Harmonica for $10.

      That said I will attend my first class tomorrow. I hope I can learn to play …  it would be fun and an excellent pulmonary pre-hab for me. This class is offered by the Center for Lifelong Learning and Development at a local community center, available to anyone 60 years old or above.  So altho I am not pre- or post- lung transplant, I just thought it would be good lung therapy. By the way I was also told I did not need official pulmonary rehab classes either, instead to continue to walk and go to they gym on my own.

      I hope you can find a harmonica class too, if you do please let me know.

      It was nice to hear from you.

      Best wishes,

      Lorraine

       

       

  • #20402
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Harmonica Therapy in Pulmonary Rehab

    February 27, 2018 By Dr. Jeremy Feldman

    “Pulmonary rehabilitation classes can be beneficial for people with lung disease including pulmonary fibrosis. In addition to exercise, pulmonary rehab provides education and support. But some rehab programs are also adding music to the mix.

    It might be surprising to learn that harmonica therapy is being implemented in some pulmonary rehabilitation classes around the country. Playing the harmonica may be helpful for people with various types of lung disease including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and lung transplant recipients.

    Benefits of Harmonica Therapy for Pulmonary Fibrosis

    Using the harmonica is a fun way to encourage the breathing exercises taught in pulmonary rehab classes. Blowing into the harmonica and inhaling through the small holes creates musical notes. But it also mimics breathing exercises, such as pursed-lip breathing. While you are generating notes blowing into the harmonica, you are also creating back pressure similar to pursed-lip breathing.

    Although pursed-lip breathing is often taught to patients with COPD, it can also be beneficial for people with pulmonary fibrosis to decrease shortness of breath.

    Playing the harmonica may also improve diaphragmatic tone. The diaphragm plays a critical role in breathing. The problem is many people don’t use their diaphragm efficiently, especially if they become short of breath.

    What often happens when someone becomes breathless is they take short, quick breaths from their upper chest often called panting. But when you belly breathe, you use your diaphragm more effectively, which promotes deeper breaths and better gas exchange. As you play the harmonica, it facilitates belly breathing and may improve the strength of the diaphragm.

    Playing the harmonica is also about learning better breath control. Certain songs may involve blowing to the harmonica in quick succession. Other songs may require alternating inhaling and exhaling at varying speeds. When you play, you learn to become more aware and in control of your breathing.

    Learning to play the harmonica helps physically because it strengthens the muscles involved in breathing. But it can also provide an emotional boost. Music can improve mood and make breathing exercises a little more fun. Playing the instrument together in pulmonary rehab classes also provides a chance to socialize and laugh a little.

    Getting Started with the Harmonica

    Pulmonary rehab programs that have implemented harmonic therapy usually use a 10-hole diatonic harmonica. There are several types of harmonicas, but the diatonic is considered one of the best for beginners.

    One of the great things about the harmonica is it’s not that difficult to learn. Even beginners with no musical background can learn to play easily recognizable songs.

    To get the most out of harmonic therapy, it’s helpful to practice for at least ten minutes a day. If you get too breathless or dizzy, take a break and start back up when you catch your breath.

    Whether you’re trying to play a little blues or a country tune, learning to play a musical instrument takes some time. But with harmonica therapy, every time you practice, you’re also getting a little workout for your lungs.””

    Content written by Dr. Jeremy Feldman, an expert in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, with contributions by MaryAnn DePietro, B.S. CRT, a licensed respiratory therapist.

     

    • #20408
       Mark Koziol 
      Keymaster

      Thank you Lorraine for providing the article on harmonica therapy.

  • #20416
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Hi Linda @swanlw45, Carol [email protected] and @cynthia-comery-ferguson:

    So I had my first harmonica class today and I found it to be more of a practice session than a lesson.

    For the time being we are not required to read music. The book we are currently using provides a simple get around. However, I am too slow … but the practice will be good for my lungs.

    If I cannot get the hang of it, I may purchase a pulmonica from Amazon. To learn about the pulmonica … Google: Pulmonica Harmonica Respiratory Therapy or Pulmonica DOT COM. A pulmonica is costly, $100. but does not require any real talent (no background needed). Check out the web page and let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Lorraine

     

  • #20419
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    @lorraine – well, your first step in harmonica class is done.  Hope it keeps getting to be more fun. I ordered a harmonica diatonic key of C today from Amazon, the music book you have and another that has videos too that shows how to proceed in learning. I am a better show me and let me learn by doing, thought if couldn’t find a class would at least try that at home.  Also found out about Better Breathers Club in various places in the state oh Ohio, registered for one free that would take me about 30 mins to get to. They meet at a small hospital. Received back an email giving me a contact’s name, so I sent her an email asking if they do harmonica classes and what their scheduled meetings entail.  Waiting to hear back.  It also listed a phone # I will try if hear nothing back.  Oh! There was a hyperlink for Breathers Club on Inspire through American Lung Association for different states.  Looking forward to hearing more of your results. Linda Williams

    • #20420
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      Hi Linda @swanlw45:

      What a great update! I hope the Breathers Club has a harmonica class.

      I do not have a club in close proximity, so I will continue with my class for now, until they read music. I may consider taking an online class … because  like you “I am a better show me and let me learn by doing” person too. I saw on line how to hold the harmonica, and with two hands. And a classmate told me not to move my head, move the harmonica.

      At this point, Happy Birthday is about the only song that is recognizable so far. But I think it is helping get the gunk up. I also read on the Pulmonica DOT COM web site, that exhaling and drawing off the first three reeds is great exercise for those of us with lung diseases.

      Looking forward to hearing more about your harmonica adventure.

      Enjoy,

      Lorraine

       

  • #20421
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    @lorraine it was of interest to learn about the other breathing method too if harmonica not work.  Thanks for that info too. Sorry there are no Better Breathers Clubs near you. Linda Williams

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by  Charlene Marshall. Reason: formatting
  • #20422
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Hi Linda @swanlw45:

    Regarding the pulmonica I found the info under the Research tab interesting and optimistic. Specifically the COPD Study Quantitative Results. But given that they did not have another group using regular harmonicas, I wonder if the results would have been the same for those unsing both instruments. This is why even if I cannot master the harmonica, I plan to play it everyday. And after reading all of the pulmonica Amazon reviews, a couple of comments seemed to indicate that a regular harmonica or Incentive Spirometer would be just as beneficial. That said the instructor told us today, those who advance in the class, will be required to ultimately buy four more harmonicas — so I may end up purchasing the pulmonica at some point. If I do, I will let you know.

    The crazy thing about NYC traffic, as you probably know, 1o miles can take 1.5 to 2 hours.  I live on Staten Island and the closest Breathers Clubs are in Manhattan. One club is at the hospital where I see my pulmonologist.  I was surprised none were here, given Staten Island has a high rate of asthma and COPD.

    Lorraine

     

     

  • #20423
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    @lorraine –  I saw on Amazon a kit of 5 harmonicas today & wondered why someone would buy but I guess each must be a progression up to being better. But we don’t want to be professionals at it do we?   Probably about same price as pulmonic.

    Linda Williams

  • #20424
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    I agree, Linda @swanlw45 … and as the night progresses and we continue to discuss the pulmonica, I am leaning toward getting it. “The Pulmonica also has lower notes than most commercially available harmonicas, and it is specially tuned to set up harmonics that vibrate your lungs and sinuses.”

  • #20521
     ajd 
    Participant

    Good luck Lorraine!  Sounds like fun.  I have picked up my guitar again after many years and it is difficult.  Even more difficult than playing is trying to sing along with it.  I have very little air in my lungs and can only get out a few words. Then I have to get a couple of breaths in before I can do a few more words and by then the song is far beyond the last words haha.  So I understand the difficulty you must have trying to play a wind instrument.  Hopefully it will help to improve your lung capacity.

    Please keep us informed on any improvement to your lungs that this might have.

    Best wishes,

    Tony DeGidio

    • #20554
       Lorraine 
      Participant

      Hi Tony @anthonydegidio

      Thanks for your post.

      Your efforts to play the guitar and sing-a-long, shows real determination and passion, while still sharing your talent!! That is admirable.

      I am determined to play Happy Birthday on the harmonica when we celebrate my dad’s 89th birthday next month. It will certainly add some laughs to the celebration.

      I attended the second harmonica class and did practice a few times during the week. And yes I will let you know if playing the harmonica improves my lungs.

      Best wishes,

      Lorraine

       

  • #20555
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Hi Lorraine! I am glad you went back to harmonica class! I have my harmonica & music books but not a teacher. Spoke with cardio-pulmonary rehab & leader for Better Breathers Club. She tried to find a harmonica teacher for their club but has not found. She also has problems getting people to come out for BBC due to their health so for rt now no meetings but hoping to start in fall again.  I told her what you had said about the pulmonica and that was something new to her.  Did you decide not to get it?  You have a goal for playing Happy Birthday , that is good ! I bet you’ll do it well!  Linda Williams

  • #20556
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Hey Linda!

    Glad to hear from you.

    I was wondering if you found out if your local BBC had a harmonica class. I hope your BBC contact has not given up on finding a harmonica instructor.

    Now that you have the harmonica and books, have you tried to play?

    Let me know if they hold a fall BBC and you attend.

    I have not ordered the pulmonica yet, but have not ruled it out. I wanted to see if I make progress with the harmonica.

    Thank you for your encouragement.

    Best wishes,

    Lorraine

  • #20573
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Hi Lorraine!  The cardio-pulmonary rehab Dept at Hospital where BBC is has been looking for a teacher for harmonica but has not found one yet.  I did receive my harmonica and books but have not tried yet. Thinking of returning as I can reorder if a teacher is found.  Going to live vicariously in this via you!  Haha.  When  I get to see a new pulmonogist maybe he will order Pulmonary rehab for me?  Hope so. Working on it.  Got referral but to see him need HRCT chest within one yr. Was May, 2018 since last had. The cardiologist I saw yesterday gave me the referral not knowing this. My GP says since cardiologist did referral, he should order the HRCT.  So called his office this a.m.   He did tell me yesterday (good) that I really don’t have Pulmonary Hypertension at this point although right ventricle somewhat enlarged. (Bad) and also that, to be truthful, as I have IPF there is really nothing he can do if it does progress as it is connected to that.  Am thinking may end up getting pulmonica eventually. Not sure. Wonder if others have tried it as takes no teacher???   Linda Williams

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Charlene Marshall. Reason: formatting
  • #20577
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Hi Linda:

    Yes, given the circumstances returning the harmonica and books makes sense. And yes, revisit the need for Pulmonary Rehab, sometimes they cave when we are persistent and adamant. Good luck with this important cause. I hate the bureaucratic referral drama, and wish they would just step-up and provide it, leaving the drama aside. Grrr. I am glad you do not have Pulmonary Hypertension and sorry to learn the right ventricle somewhat enlarged. I hope it does not progress! I wonder about the pulmonica too. Odd that in our circles no one has ever heard of it .. and instead I stumbled upon the web site, while researching harmonica lung therapy. So if I do try the pulmonica, I will need to make up my mind about it within the money back guarantee period. (“If purchased from Amazon, the Pulmonica is also covered by Amazon’s 30-day money-back guarantee.”)

    Best wishes,

    Lorraine

  • #20590
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Hi Charlene.  Thank you for your note. You will be going to your third harmonica class soon, hope you continue to do well in it!  Linda Williams

  • #20780
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Hi Lorraine.  Bet you are coming along with learning to play Happy Birthday. Sure hope so. Did you happen to see on Amazon a Kindle book re playing the pulmonica?  For $.99 I got it to look at. Also bought a paperback book by Dr Noah Greenspan called “Ultimate Pulmonary Wellness”.  There is a FB page by that name as well. There are 12 chapters in the book.  I believe it is accessible free online as an ebook also.  I got my book thru Amazon for about $18.  He also has a Pulmonary Camp online for exercise. But it has a price of $99 for whole camp and then $14.99/mo.  But with no Pulmonary Rehab ordered per Dr’s, sounds like a good plan.  I started using a hand held post-op Airlyft yesterday exercise.  It was set at 1500 to get up to by hospital people when I got it originally and the goal as well is to hold the little ball between two markings.  I started out about 1000 but up to 1500 before done each set. Only did two sets of 5 yesterday. Hope to do more sets better. Hope you are breathing easy!  Linda Williams

  • #20783
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Hi Linda:

    I enjoyed reading your post … good info! Good plan. Forum members are resourceful and helpful.

    I am a harmonica school drop-out. My classmates have musical talent and experience. They are now reading music. I still pick up the harmonica, but not as much. I will see my pulmonologist this week and will ask about the harmonica, pulmonica, breathing device. I think you are on the right track with the breathing device and may go that route.

    Keep doing what your are doing.

    Best wishes,

    Lorraine

  • #20784
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Hi Lorraine ; keep practicing at home. Won’t hurt anything and will give you exercise. Maybe you’ll still be able to sing Happy birthday and add in just a little harmonica!  Experience of any kind still teaches.   Have a good evening . Linda Williams

  • #20785
     Lorraine 
    Participant

    Thank you Linda. I appreciate the motivation and support. I will give you a shout out and a early or belated Happy Birthday wish, when I play the harmonica next. 🙂

  • #20786
     Linda Williams 
    Participant

    Okey dokey! Have a good week!! Linda

  • #20848
     John Kane 
    Participant

    I already have a good harmonica but the pulmonica looks interesting. I wonder if this is prescribed as therapy whether Medicare would pick up some of the cost….

    • #20851
       Mark Koziol 
      Keymaster

      Hello John, I would suggest contacting the seller of the pulmonica and ask if there is a precedence of Medicare paying for this therapy device or contact the company that handles your Medicare coverage and ask them if it is covered. The worst thing is they say no but it never hurts to ask. Good luck. Mark

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