AMERICAN MOSAIC #812 - Harp Therapy

By Nancy Steinbach


Most people think harp music is very beautiful. Recent experiments have shown that the ancient musical instrument may also be effective in easing some physical and mental problems. Shirley Griffith has more.



Harp therapists play the instrument to ease pain in their patients.They say the movement of air that produces the sound of the harp helps ease physical problems. Sara Jane Williams is a harp player and therapist.She uses electronic equipment attached to a table so the patient can feel the vibrations produced when she plays. The patient lies on the table and the therapist finds out which notes make the patient feel better.

((CUT 2: BELLADONNA, Andreas Vollenweider))

Lynnelle Ediger works in the public schools in Richmond, Virginia. The Harp Therapy Outreach Program teaches children with physical or mental problems to play the harp. Mizz Ediger says she started the program five years ago when she discovered that playing the harp improved the condition of students with disabilities.

Mizz Ediger says no similar program exists anywhere in the world because harp therapy has not been studied well. She hopes to change that.Richmond public school medical experts now are studying the reactions of students to harp therapy. The experts observe changes in body movements.And they look for possible improvements in movement skills.

Mizz Ediger says harp therapy has also helped students with learning problems. Two months ago, she organized an International Harp Therapy Conference in Richmond to discuss such findings. She hopes that more meetings and studies will help provide more information about the medical effects of the harp.

((CUT 3: BEHIND THE GARDENS, Andreas Vollenweider))

Voice of America Special English