Table of Contents

Music and ALS

Download our free information sheets about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Music Therapy.

Sound Blanket for Relaxation

This is a deep relaxation music listening exercise which may be helpful for persons with ALS at any stage and their caregivers.

When It Is Helpful

This type of music assisted relaxation can be used to

  • lower anxiety
  • relax
  • ease into sleep
  • decrease muscle tension and pains
  • in some cases, decrease the need for sedative medications *

How To Do It

  1. Sit or lie down comfortably.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Take a deep breath in through the nose, breathe out slowly through the nose or through the mouth: use diaphragmatic or mixed (diaphragmatic + chest) breathing if possible.
  4. Concentrate on your breathing.
  5. Follow the narration.
  6. If using a version without a voice guide, focus on the music itself.
  7. The long (9-minute) version is best used for sleep.

WARNING: do not listen to these tracks when driving, operating machinery or holding an infant.

* Live assistance of a qualified music therapist is necessary.

All music and narrations by Alisa Apreleva, PhD, MT-BC, NMT

Music for Diaphragmatic Breathing Training

This is a music guide for diaphragmatic breathing training which may be helpful for persons with early and mid-stage ALS

When It Is Helpful

Diaphragmatic breathing technique may be helpful for:

  • increasing lung capacity
  • lowering anxiety
  • preventing fatigue and brain fog
  • relaxation
  • boosting immunity and cell regeneration
  • healthy sleep

How It Works

Most people do not fully use their breathing capacity, accustomed to shallow “chest breathing”. Diaphragmatic (“stomach”, “belly”) breathing allows to take much more air in one breath:

  • when stomach breathing, we consciously use our diaphragm, the large dome-shaped muscle right under our lungs, to fully expand and open our lungs, to take deeper breaths
  • as we inhale, our diaphragm does all the way down, and our stomach expands
  • as we exhale, the diaphragm contracts and pushes the air out

How To Do It

  1. Breath in through your nose.
  2. Breathe out slowly through your mouth or through your nose.
  3. It may be helpful to place one hand on your abdomen and the other one on your chest, so you can feel how your belly moves rather than your chest.

How Music Helps

The accompanying music track helps to learn diaphragmatic breathing. Based on principles of neurologic music therapy, it creates an external rhythmic structure and helps the listener to perform the exercise, to breathe in and out in time, to relax into the new routine and to do a certain number of repetitions without thinking about the numbers.

All music and narrations by Alisa Apreleva, PhD, MT-BC, NMT