Is harmonica playing an effective adjunct therapy to pulmonary rehabilitation?

Rehabil Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;37(4):207-12. doi: 10.1002/rnj.33. Epub 2012 Jun 18.


Purpose: This randomized controlled trial examined the effect harmonica playing has on various clinical, psychosocial, and functional outcomes among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients in pulmonary rehabilitation (PR).

Method: Twenty-eight participants (Age 69.9 ± 1.8; FEV1 Predicted 41.9 ± 2.0%) were recruited from an outpatient PR program. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups, traditional PR (C; n = 16) or traditional PR plus harmonica playing (HT; n = 9). The HT group was provided a harmonica and one-on-one instruction by PR staff. Patients were given practice exercises to perform for at least 5 minutes, but not exceeding 20 minutes twice/day, 5 days/week.

Results: No significant differences were found between groups. The combined sample improved significantly in their perception of shortness of breath, quality of life, and distance walked in 6 minutes.

Conclusion: Harmonica playing does not significantly affect the clinical, psychosocial, or functional status of COPD patients enrolled in PR.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Dyspnea / nursing
  • Dyspnea / therapy
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy / instrumentation
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / nursing*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Rehabilitation Nursing / instrumentation
  • Rehabilitation Nursing / methods*
  • Treatment Failure