Kids with asthma (AZ-mah) know what it’s like to have trouble breathing because asthma is a chronic (long lasting) disease that causes airways – the tubes that carry air to the lungs – to become swollen in reaction to exercise, cold weather or anything irritating.

Inhalers are among the most common treatments for kids with asthma, but at the Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, researchers are studying the effects of music therapy on the disease. It is believed that music therapy can help breathing and ease anxiety and depression related to asthma.

The Center’s Asthma Initiative Program (AIP) provides a free recorder (a wind instrument) and journal to each kid enrolled in the six-month program, and kids are asked to write daily about their symptoms and feelings. They meet weekly for therapy, where they play a variety of instruments, listen to music and talk.

“We conduct music therapy in ways to encourage a pleasurable and successful experience, so breathing might not feel so much like work,” said Erica Rondina, Program Coordinator and Music Therapist. “The kids develop tools they use to gain control over their body and their symptoms.”

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Teachers in NYC, the AIP visits schools, too! Call (212) 420-2592 for more information.