Harmonicas for Health 口琴与健康 3


signed in proxy, and widely circulated by the seasoned professional harmonica players, health care providers and harmonica makers during its 46th annual convention in Sacramento, California on August11-15, 2009. Some of the individuals included world renowned harmonica players and teachers Joe Filisko and David Barrett, cardiologist Dr. Stanley Rockson, SPAH President Tom Stryker, SPAH Harmonicas Health Committee Vice-Chairman Terry Rand, and the HHC Founding Chairman Sunghee Victor Yun.

Harmonica Training Programs

There are a number of harmonicas health training programs and regular classes offered particularly to children and senior citizens in various health establishments in US, including the El Camino Hospital in California where they offer a weekly harmonica therapy class for COPD patients. Some of the private clinics and community service centers in California, Michigan, Indiana and Florida incorporate the harmonica classes into their regular fitness classes or other health improvement programs. A number of public health educationists, harmonica makers and music therapists shave been conducting scientific studies of the harmonicas’ possible impact on positive health. The writer himself conducted two major studies in Asia during the period of year 2009-2010 among high school heavy smokers and suicide-prone students with the harmonicas. Results of one-year long longitudinal studies showed that some 25% of the harmonica players quitted smoking and that some 15% of suicidal syndrome students got out of the “darkness” or concerned depression. Hence it was suggested by them that the harmonica be introduced into the schools’ regular health science, physical education or music classes. The writer also conducted a number of surveys with his class students over five years at the end of his each of “harmonica for better breathing” and “harmonica for optimal breathing” classes. Nearly 95 percent of the surveyed students agreed that the harmonica could definitely help improve their physical stress and emotional distress. Health benefits vary depending on players’ ages and playing history, types of the harmonica, playing techniques and habits or cleaning and maintenance of the harmonicas.

Harmonica: Healthy Life Style (Sample Exercises)

Ex 1: (with a 10-hole diatonic harmonica) Drawing hole 1 through 10 slowly and consistently; and hold the breath for three seconds at the hole #10; and then blowing hole 10 to 1; and hold the breath for two seconds at the hole #1—continue three times and do it three times a day for five days of week, can help work for your breathing and brain power.

Ex. 2: Playing a lullaby song on harmonica (e.g., Brahms, Schubert or Mozart lullaby) before going to the bed each night can help ease sleeping and may avoid unpleasant snoring or sleep apnea.

Ex. 3: Playing the harmonica to help people for consolation—ex. hospital patients, wedding ceremonies, funeral services, the homeless, prisons, armed forces, camp fires, various parties, home-visitation for the depressed or the sick, children parks and play ground, graduation, birthday, or broken family. It would be good for them particularly with camp fire songs, hymn songs, popular folk songs or classical music. For example, the song like Amazing Grace and Edelweiss would be a good choice. It may bring you a tremendous return.

Ex. 4: Playing the harmonica when you feel stomach upset or indigestion can help temporary relief from its abdominal pain. Place your right hand on your belly button and play the harmonica with your left hand while you play a simple song (e.g., Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Jingle Bells). While inhaling slowly and deeply, your tummy will expand outward like a balloon and the oxygen-contained air flows into the 300 million air sacs or alveoli of the lungs. While exhaling, your tummy will collapse inward and the alveoli expel the air of carbon dioxides to the lungs out to the mouth. Do it two times each with deep breathing and repeat once more after two-minute rest with results of easy stomach and clear brain.

Ex. 5: Playing a song (like Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy,” Stephen Foster’s “Swanee River” or Jimmy Davis’ “You are My Sunshine”) on harmonica twice when you feel distress or depressed, can help make feel better and cheerful.

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