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Adult Pipers Related to Adult piping or pipers, this is the place.

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Old 07-25-2017, 07:05 PM   #1
Joe Baker
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Default Enlarged lungs and piping

It seems to me that I read on the forums (of course I can't find it now) that piping is a cause of enlarged lungs. Also enlarged lungs are possibly an indication of COPD. Has anyone ever asked their MD about the truth of that statement?
Thanx, Joe B.
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Old 07-26-2017, 03:54 PM   #2
zarb
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

A cursory search found this; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...54611111000321
Which seems to indicate no link with a problem.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:29 PM   #3
Paul
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

"Many bagpipers get pulmonary edema", my physician father told me when I was a new piper. I think he was just trying to make me quit, but trying to be nice about it. He never commented on any lung ailments caused by piping again, but he was qualified. He wasn't a pulmonologist - he was an anesthesiologist, who was also a medical researcher for a time, and would leave papers around the dining room table that he had written, with titles like "mathematical models of respiration in the human lung", and was a Diplomate of the American College of Chest Physicians. I'm sure that if he thought I was going to have some sort of lung disease, he would have tried harder to stop me. More than 30 years later, my lungs are doing very well.

Last edited by Paul; 07-26-2017 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:17 PM   #4
Leong
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

Quote:
Originally Posted by zarb View Post
A cursory search found this; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...54611111000321
Which seems to indicate no link with a problem.
This is interesting:
"It seems reasonable to surmise that W/B musicians’ ability to sustain long musical phrases with expression is a result of having learned to control airflow, not necessarily due to having naturally better lung function."

W/B=wind/brass
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:13 AM   #5
el gaitero
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leong View Post
This is interesting:
"It seems reasonable to surmise that W/B musicians’ ability to sustain long musical phrases with expression is a result of having learned to control airflow, not necessarily due to having naturally better lung function."

W/B=wind/brass
...aka circular breathing as on our practice chanter....and apparently also on W/B instruments without benefit of a bag.
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:18 AM   #6
gisahag
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

The following is entirely anecdotal and proves nothing. But....

I’ve played pipes since I was about 12. Twice in my life I’ve had to have lung function tests at work.
The first time (when I moved to England in my mid 20s) used an old paper / pen graph to record peak flow and capacity. I blew that off the chart and they had to recalibrate the whole recorder.
The second time, in my early 40s, was a digital recorder. The doctor said my peak flow was that of a 20 year old athlete. No one looking at any of my other physical characteristics would mistake me for a 20 year old athlete.

I suspect that the effect of playing the pipes is not to enlarge the lungs, but rather it strengthens the diaphragm and intercostal muscles , giving us the ability to access more of our latent lung capacity than non-pipers.
My friend who’s a nurse said the problem with pipers is that when you do a lung function test on us we can be within what is the normal range for the rest of the population despite our personal lung function being quite significantly reduced. That can make it difficult to diagnose lung problems in a piper unless you have a personalised ‘disease free’ baseline lung function measurement.

Neil
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:10 PM   #7
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
...aka circular breathing as on our practice chanter....and apparently also on W/B instruments without benefit of a bag.
Circular breathing is not all that common among woodwind and brass instrumentalists, at least not in my experience of some 50 years as a professional musician ( Tuba, primarily) and teacher ( primarily a Band Director). Mostly, they rely on long phrasing exercises to develop breath control. There are some who do use circular breathing, but it's not common practice.
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Old 07-27-2017, 03:07 PM   #8
SweetDrones
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

By that, you mean those phrases of 16 beats with one breath my sax teacher has me practising?
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Old 07-30-2017, 02:30 PM   #9
Peter Finlay
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping

I suspect that the effect of playing the pipes is not to enlarge the lungs, but rather it strengthens the diaphragm and intercostal muscles , giving us the ability to access more of our latent lung capacity than non-pipers.

Neil, to confirm your guess, I was advised by my doctor that the size of a person's lungs, regardless of whether they are an athlete or musician, remain static no matter how often they use them to practice.

In fact, the muscles surrounding the lungs are indeed strengthened through regular work and the capacity of our lungs is therefore enhanced.

Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:05 PM   #10
Pip01
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Default Re: Enlarged lungs and piping



Greetings to All,

A while back... some two years past... I managed to pick
up a really nasty upper respiratory virus... the effects of
which simply lingered on... and on... and on... :(

A couple of pulmonary specialists later... and beaucoup
X-rays later... and no walking pneumonia... or any other
some such... I was informed that this "aftermath" could
sometimes beset people... and could last several more
months. (Now that's bleedin' in-convenient!!)

Inquiring of my regular physician... who is a really sharp
fellow... I ask of any possible breathing exercises... or of
any possible remedially therapeutic breathing apparatus
that could help reduce this seemingly endless recovery
time.

And he said; "You play the pipes, don't you?"
And I said; "Yes."
And he said: "Well, I can't think of anything better for it,
so just start, and stay with it... but please don't kill your-
self doing it... as it would look bad on my mortality report."
(I also appreciate him for his sense of humor. :)

And so I did... and it did help greatly to increase my lung
function... and markedly reduced the time needed for my
full recovery... and though oft times tired... and grumpy...
in this process... the end result was soon... beneficial... :)

But... it did not... increase my "lung size"... nor was it ever
likely to do so... or any one else's, as well... just as it shan't
change the color of your eyes... though many of us may be
brought to tears... in The Great Waltz-About with our pipes. :)

What it will increase... over time... is the anterior (front) of
your neck... and the puffed-out-while-playing... size of your
cheeks. (Easily seen with older pipers, trumpet players, etc.)

Mainly, it's the old; "If it don't kill ya, it'll make ya stronger." :)

And always... consult the physicians!! They trained for a very
long
time... just to help keep us from tripping over... our own
two left feet... and they're pretty good at it... :)

What e'er befall... what e'er the difficulty besets...

Good Fortune to All,

Pip01


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Last edited by Pip01; 08-08-2017 at 10:09 PM.
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