The harmonica is a unique little instrument used across a wide array of different genres of music. Though small, the harmonica has a powerful sound that draws in many curious musicians. Whether they’re experimenting with the soulful Chicago club style blues, bluegrass, or simply to spice up their current music style, the harmonica has etched its way into the music scene and is here to stay. But what many may not realize is that when they choose to pick up the harmonica, they are also unlocking a world of health benefits at their fingertips. With positive results on both physical and mental health, the harmonica makes a large impact not just on our music, but also on our wellbeing (1).
How Playing Harmonicas Can Be Good for Your Health
1) Boost Your Immune System
One of the biggest impacts the harmonica has on our physical health is the positive effect on the respiratory system. The harmonica, being a mouth harp, requires specific breath techniques to master. Playing it requires one to draw in and breathe out to accomplish the desired notes. This breath work actually mimics the therapy done in pulmonary rehabilitation exercises, not only preventing respiratory issues, but also even greatly reducing respiratory issues in patients. It can also help to boost our immune system, create new pathways in our brains, and calm our automatic nervous system (2).
2) Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Aside from just physical wellbeing, the harmonica also makes a big splash in our mental health. Pulling us away from the chaos of our days, playing the harmonica can have massive impacts on reducing stress and anxiety. In fact, playing the harmonica can actually ‘turn off’ our adrenal responses, calming our nervous system. Here’s more on how the harmonica can reduce anxiety and stress.
3) Increased Physical and Mental Wellbeing
This unique little instrument has many positive results on both our physical and mental wellbeing. While many artists and musicians choose to explore the harmonica, little do they know the health benefits they will reap through the mouth harp as well. The harmonica enriches our minds, our music, and our overall wellbeing.
Plenty of studies have proven that there is a positive correlation between music and health that causes a shift in a person’s mental state, health, and overall wellbeing. An even greater change is seen in those who practice and play regularly. For Older Harmonica Players, these may be more enticing than a young person looking for a new hobby.
There is nothing that sounds better as a cathartic and beneficial experience than learning to play an instrument. Though grinding through early stages of learning may be difficult and frustrating, once the basics have been mastered, it is definitely worth it.