Music Therapy For COPD Patients

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes for death and disability in the United States. COPD often includes symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, request colds and flus, increased sputum production, wheezing, chest tightness as well as physical abnormalities such as an inflated or “barrel” appearance to the chest. New research out of the Louis Armstrong Center of Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel has found alternative methods to improve current treatment protocols for these chronic patients.

In the study, 68 participants with diagnosed COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases were followed for six weeks. They were randomized to one of two groups. One group received traditional therapy while the other experimental group, in addition, received “music therapy.” This “music therapy” consisted of live music sessions, visualizations, wind-instrument playing and singing, while also incorporating breathing techniques. Researchers found that these sessions promoted self-expression, increased the patient’s engagement in therapeutic activities, and also gave them additional tools to cope with the symptoms and challenges of COPD. These patients saw improvement in symptoms and quality of life when compared to the control group.

These findings show the importance of this type of alternative therapy to the improvement of symptoms for patients with COPD.

Bernardo Canga, Ronit Azoulay, Jonathan Raskin, Joanne Loewy. AIR: Advances in Respiration – Music therapy in the treatment of chronic pulmonary disease. Respiratory Medicine, 2015; 109 (12): 1532 DOI: 10.1016/j.rmed.2015.10.001

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