If you want to sing, you need enough air. British researchers have now analyzed in a review how vocal training affects the well-being and health of people with respiratory diseases, which includes Asthma and COPD. Recent studies have shown that singing can actually improve the condition of those with lung disease. This means less dependency on inhalers or nebulizer machines.
Inhalers and Portable Nebulizer
We all know that those who endure asthma will need to have easy access to their medication, inhalers or portable nebulizers. While it is best to have these innovative nebulizers handy at all times, there are other means to lessen the patient’s dependency on these medications. Singing, despite the need of air to produce real good music, can be good for those with respiratory illnesses.
Effects of Group Singing on Lung Health
Even if the humming of choirs annoys some contemporaries again and again, the effects that can be achieved on body and soul should not be underestimated. This is the conclusion that scientists from London’s Imperial College have now come to in a systematic review of six studies on the effects of group singing lessons on lung health.
Adam Lewis and colleagues evaluated studies in which parameters such as health status, lung function and quality of life of vocal students were compared with corresponding data from people under standard care.
Singing for Lung Health
The singers took part in an initiative called “Singing for Lung Health” (SLH), which is supported by the British Lung Foundation, among others. The aim is to give people with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD or asthma more air. The regular classes, which incorporate posture and breath control exercises, are led by an experienced singing teacher. At the same time there is ample opportunity for social contacts.
According to the analysis, singing appears to improve the quality of life in people with chronic respiratory illnesses. According to the British scientists, there were particularly positive effects on physical health and the level of anxiety. In addition, positive effects on individual lung function parameters were described in a study.
No side effects
Side effects of the singing could not be detected. However, the informative value of many studies suffers from the often very small number of participants. In some cases, the control group is missing, and it is difficult to compare the studies because of the different study designs.
Nevertheless, qualitative data seem to indicate that COPD patients in particular benefit from the singing lessons. They consistently reported that the lessons helped them to cope better with their illness.
Qualitative study data provide strong indications of the potential health, psychological and social benefits of Singing for Lung Health for people with chronic respiratory diseases, concludes Lewis and colleagues. The results of small, randomized studies suggested that this improves quality of life. However, so far there has been no evidence of functional or health economic benefits of the method.
According to the reviewers, it is important that the training and concepts of the singing teachers are standardized and that success is monitored by means of suitable tests and uniform documentation.
Before patients with respiratory diseases can routinely be offered SLH, it is also necessary to examine the effects of singing therapy in meaningful long-term studies.