“How to Protect Yourself From Getting Injured While Playing the Harp”

Review of Dr. Wendy Chuang’s April 7, 2013 Workshop, by Martha Bailey

“How to Protect Yourself From Getting Injured While Playing the Harp”
as posted at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Harp Society

Carpel tunnel syndrome, and others syndromes related to the neck, shoulders, hips, etc. are seen in harpists. Dr. Wendy Chuang has been taking harp lessons from Sonya Yu in order to have a deeper understanding of how harpists play the instrument. After getting her own experience of playing the harp, she has diagnosed a thorough plan for other harpists to prevent injuries from practicing the harp. She has also designed some exercises specifically for harpists to work on building up the strengths of their body parts.

Stretch, Push up, Pull up, and Dips, Pose…not words usually used by harpists when they get together, but the 14 who attended Dr. Wendy Chuang’s informative presentation on April 7, will not forget the importance of those words and their distinct meanings for harpists.

Dr. Chuang’s presentation began with participant’s submission of specific physical problems they were having, which they assumed were from playing the harp. Then participants were given an overview of general anatomy, demonstrated with fabulous software, which could turn the body parts to show opposing muscle groups, color coordinated to show how they work together.

We then learned that proper alignment begins with placing the hips correctly on the harp bench and then adjusting the rest of the body to that position, which includes proper breathing.

Normal “pressure points” of pain and stress were pointed out, followed by exercises, which should be done daily as “preventative medicine” of major problems. Participants followed Dr. Chuang’s lead as we all experienced the difference exercises so that we could feel the “stretches” in our own body. It was quite revealing that many of the stretches we have all experienced in various PE classes, do not work specifically on the muscles that we all use daily as harpists.

The program ended with a question and answer period. There were many handouts and the material presented was most informative and complex.

When we have an opportunity to bring back Dr. Chuang for another workshop, I am sure everyone, including those of us who attended the April workshop, will not want to miss it. Bravo, Dr. Chuang, and thank you to Sonya Yu for arranging this most enlightening program!

– Martha Bailey

Dr. Chuang received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Physiology form UC, San Diego and then her Doctor of Chiropractic in 2000 from Palmer College of Chiropractic West. She is the founder of Natural Health Pros in Sunnyvale and has served as a part-time faculty at Palmer College of Chiropractic West for many years. She is an active volunteer in many international organizations, such as American Cancer Society. http://www.drchuang.com