LEE COUNTY, Fla.-- Music is helping some patients at Lee Memorial Hospitals breathe a little easier. Harmonica lessons are being offered as a form of respiratory therapy and some say it's working.
David Peters recruits kids like 11-year-old Zachary Saad weekly at the hospital and teaches them how to play the harmonica.
"It's just something a child can do while he's lying in bed," Peters tells WINK News.
Peters is a member of the Fort Myers Harmonica Band and shares his love of the harmonica with each child by teaching him the basics and then a tune.
"When they do they get the biggest smile on their face and it's very enjoyable because they now know they can play something on the harmonica," Peters says.
But beyond laughter, doctors noticed the lessons had another benefit: helping kids learn to breathe better. So Peters was asked to pick up a few more classes. This time he started teaching adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. Adults like Louis Halloway says he noticed a difference after playing the harmonica.
"It's not a giant step but you can tell there's a little improvement-- something that makes me want to do more and more," Halloway says.
He also says the harmonica therapy is a breath of fresh air compared to traditional treatments. Though his instructor, Peters, says what he is teaching them is nothing new.
"I'm only supplementing what the hospital is doing," Peters reiterates.
The harmonica classes are made possible by the Fort Myers Harmonica Band and the Arts in Healthcare program.