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28/06/2008

Treating asthma through playing music

Boy beats asthma by playing euphonium

By Nigel Bunyan
Last Updated: 1:40AM BST 27/06/2008
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/219...-euphonium.html


Ryan Harrison, was diagnosed with the condition as a baby, and would get breathless when just standing and talking.

But six months after beginning lessons on the brass instrument, which looks like a small version of a tuba, his symptoms have diminished.

His mother, Marie Johnson, 32, said: "He began playing at the beginning of the year, and within a couple of weeks his breathlessness completely disappeared. Since then he has had no wheezing at all.

"I've heard of wind instruments helping children with asthma and I think it has helped Ryan manage his breathing and strengthened the muscles in his diaphragm.

"He still has sinus problems and sounds bunged up, but the wheezing has stopped."

The mother-of-three, of Chester-le-Street, whose son now plays with the West Pelton District and Community Brass Band, added: "Ryan is really pleased because it has made a massive difference to his quality of life.

"Beforehand he could get breathless just standing and talking. That was quite frightening and it would happen at least once a week.

"I would definitely recommend trying a wind instrument to others with asthma as it's another option which doesn't involve medication".

Leanne Male, assistant director of research at Asthma UK, said: "There has been very little scientific research on the benefits of wind and brass instruments to people with asthma.

"However, there seems to be increasing amounts of anecdotal evidence suggesting that it does help some people with asthma to better manage their condition.

"We think this is likely because musicians learn to focus and be aware of their breathing. They are also strengthening the muscles involved in breathing."

She added: "Asthma UK is all for people trying new breathing techniques or taking up wind instruments, as long as they continue to take prescribed medication".

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