Harmonicas for Health 口琴与健康 2








weight and waist control, smoking cessation, and drug abuse. It may also help slow down the aging process and the deterioration of brain power. In recent years, an increasing number of American hospital clinics have been implementing harmonica therapy for COPD and sleep apnea patients as an adjunct tool to their standard medical regimens like the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Potential health benefits from playing the harmonica may be associated with expanding lung capacity and heightening its vitality. The harmonica requires deep abdominal deep breathing and makes use of diaphragmatic movement of the lungs much more so than ordinary breathing. The process of harmonica breathing creates positive air pressure and accelerates supplying oxygen to blood, body and brain. It may strengthen the immune system and engender a positive mood with hormones such as dopamine or endorphin which make people happy and cheerful. Playing the harmonica is also a morale booster and is conducive to increasing general quality of life. It may enhance bio-feedback control with resulting benefits for body metabolism. Some dentists believe that harmonica vibrations help massage the teeth and gums and that playing the harmonica stimulates saliva release and helps prevent gum disease. Acupuncturists in Northern California theorize that the breathing power of playing the harmonica comes from the “central point” of the abdomen which is located one inch below the belly button and is called the “life center.” The harmonica reed vibrations seem to massage seven or eight different groups of muscles in our body when the harmonica is being played, especially with a lower octave notes. The harmonica’s health benefits are protean and proliferating.

Anecdotes of Harmonica’s Benefits
A stream of personal testimonies and anecdotal stories provide evidence of the harmonica’s salutary benefits. Certain harmonicas health advocates are claiming that harmonica players would live longer and happier than the non-players. For example, some thirty-five members of the Channing House Harmonica Club in California practices

every Saturday morning for 45 minutes. The average age of the men and women is 92 years old. Compared to the non- player residents in the same senior apartment, the players look much younger, healthier and happier. They themselves claim that the harmonica is key attribute to their happy long daily life. Additionally whenever a retired history professor of the Stanford University who is 105 years old now hears his familiar tunes like “Danny Boy” or “Jeanie with Light Brown Hair” on harmonica, he closes his eyes, hums, and joyfully smiles, as if it helps him to retrieve his long lost memories of home, mother or friends. Harmonica playing helps sharpen mental power and alertness. It helps connect the mind and the body in a harmonious way. Listening alone to harmonica music is equally beneficial for health. It helps to boost morale, soothe physical and emotional suffering, and rejuvenate stress-stricken life at home and at work. It reminds one of the good old days, including the happy childhood memories. It elicits laughs, accompanying songs, dancing and cheerful talks.

Harmonica Organizations
Numerous organizations acknowledge the importance of the harmonica. The Better Breathing California and the American Lung Association support ideas of the health benefits of playing the harmonica. The harmonica was also heralded as an integral part of music therapy programs during the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) annual convention held in St. Louis, Missouri in 2008. The American Federation of Musicians (AHM) officially recognized the harmonica in 1948 as a “legitimate” musical instrument. Health benefits of playing the harmonica have been formally acknowledged by the Harmonicas Health Committee (HHC) of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH) in 2007 which is one of the US- based largest and longest existing professional harmonica players’ groups in the world. SPAH has officially adopted the World Harmonicas Health Statement in 2009. The Statement, or better known as the Sacramento Harmonicas Health Declaration (SHHD), has been formally endorsed,

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