Musical Instrument Therapy to Treat Long-Term Effects of COVID on Long Island


NASSAU COUNTY (WABC) – It’s new therapy with a catchy tune.

“I can feel the muscles relax and blood flow in my arms,” said Carol Hrbek, a patient.

And that’s the point.

Long Island health experts are using musical instrument therapy to help treat long-term lung and cardiovascular problems due to COVID like cough and shortness of breath.

“It really motivates you. It helps your heart rate. Makes you breathe easier and you just love it. You put your whole body into it,” said Marcella Taylor, a patient.

The idea is that using music as a form of physical therapy will increase patient engagement and ultimately speed up recovery.

“If you can get a patient to do their rehabilitation, to do what needs to be done and to make them breathe while having fun and wanting to do it. That’s the whole point,” said Lisa Penziner, director special projects for the management of Paragon.

In this case, a harmonica is used in place of typical devices to help those who suffer from shortness of breath.
One of the reasons this program is so successful is that playing the harmonica is actually fun instead of using a device called an incentive spirometer to improve your breathing.

During this time, makeshift drums are used to increase your heart rate

“It’s useful because time flies a lot faster and it makes you enjoy what you’re doing. Whereas if you had to do one, two, three, four. Yep! After a while it gets a bit tiring.” said Hrbek.

These new methods are useful for treating the specific effects of COVID, especially on older people, but music therapy program officials say it can be helpful for people of all ages.

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