Music Therapy for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Health

Through a collaborative effort with the Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Health at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, music therapy is offered as a complementary approach to achieving treatment goals and wellness in our Music for CAIR (Cardiac Advances in Rehabilitation) and Music for AIR (Advances in Respiration) programs.

Music therapy is used to address the physical symptoms of cardiovascular disease and COPD, including techniques to regulate heart rate and blood pressure, as well as providing psychosocial support for people coping with chronic illness to enhance quality of life. The program offers:

  • Group music-making using simple percussion instruments for tension release and creative expression
  • Music-assisted relaxation and guided imagery to influence heart rhythms, optimize breathing and support stress management
  • The Sing A-Lung chorus draws on the therapeutic benefits of singing and song-writing from a variety of musical genres to enhance heart, voice and spirit

Music Therapy in the Respiratory
Step-Down Unit

Patients who are on mechanical ventilation may be given music therapy to alleviate discomfort and pain, facilitate more relaxed breathing rhythms, and regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Music therapy may also help to reduce anxiety that frequently accompanies ventilation dependence and provide emotional support for patients and families coping with hospitalization.

For patients who are sedated or experiencing loss of consciousness, music therapy can provide gentle stimulation and orientation. Alternately, for patients who may be agitated or having difficulty sleeping, music therapy may promote relaxation. Clinical music therapy improvisation may also provide a nonverbal outlet for communication and self-expression when vocalization and speech is difficult.

Music therapy sessions available on the unit include:

  • Environmental Music Therapy: Live music played for patients and staff fosters a relaxed atmosphere
  • Family Music Therapy: Patients and their families participate in music circles, integrating family members, releasing anxiety, and serving the patient's support system
  • Group Music Therapy: Group jams onsite including both patients and staff create a feeling of community, release tension, create new alliances, create a home away from home, and deepen relationships between patients and staff
  • Individual Music Therapy: Patients receive one-to-one supportive music therapy consultations

For more information about Music for CAIR and Music for AIR and joining our weekly music therapy group, call (212) 420-2719 or email

Asthma Initiative Program

The Asthma Initiative Program (AIP) uses music therapy to enhance the breathing capacity and quality of life of children and teens with asthma. AIP uses music-assisted relaxation and breathing exercises combined with playing a wind instrument, and singing to complement medical treatment. This unique, creative approach may help children to understand how to breathe optimally and maintain control over their symptoms. AIP provides music therapy services to public schools in New York City, focusing on areas with higher rates of asthma.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to have the Asthma Initiative Program at your public school, contact Gabrielle Bouissou, MS, MT-BC at or (212) 420-2719.

Related Research and Articles

For articles from peer-reviewed journals, research studies, and authoritative literature, please see the bibliographies in the Music Therapy Resources section.

For Questions and Further Information

For questions and further information about music therapy or referrals for yourself, your loved ones or your patients, please call (212) 420-2704 or email