Usually, at the conclusion of a wonderful sermon at Manhattan’s Riverside Church, the organist plays the most beautiful music that can satisfy the hungry soul. The organist delivers these electrifying sounds from air that is pumped through many pipes of different lengths, which are sounded by compressed air blown by a bellows and played by keys.

In comparison, the lungs, which are also organs, release compressed air through hundreds of small tubes known as bronchi and deliver a breath that is soundless. This can also be an organ recital. However, if the bronchi are congested with mucus or are constricted, the sounds released from the bronchi may be altered and very unmusical.

Many conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or chronic obstructive lung disease, can contribute to breathlessness. In most cases, this is due to the lungs’ inability to expand to their full capacity. In this case, in order for the lungs to perform properly, they may need to be exercised.

A few years ago, I met a respiratory therapist named Betsy Thomason, who introduced me to a lung exercise known as “BreathPlay.” This exercise retrains lungs that have been injured to regain their optimum performance. Many folks with chronic lung disease have been helped with this method. As for all organs, including the heart, exercise is the basis for their well-being. Thirty minutes daily, five times weekly will keep a heart healthy.

BreathPlay has assisted even Olympic cyclists to perform at their peak level. Swimmers have also improved with this method. But more importantly, folks who have been given up on as breath invalids have regained a new quality of life.

BreathPlay involves the entire body. The belly is used like a bellows to squeeze the guts up against the diaphragm while you purse your lips, allowing air to be expelled. In other words, while you’re sitting comfortably, air is inhaled while your belly is extended and then exhaled while you contract the abdomen; it’s as if a button is put over the navel and an invisible string is pulling the navel toward the backbone.

To better understand this method of BreathPlay, I suggest that you contact Betsy Thomason at 201-930-0557, or P.O. Box 515, Montvale, N.J., 07645.

For more info on BreathPlay, visit

I am sure that all of you who may be having a poor organ recital right now will soon be singing a happy tune and dancing without being breathless.